This is the second book in the Lee Child Jack Reacher series to be adapted to film, but there’s no obvious link to the previous one – like the books there are little connections between the past escapades of Reacher so you can go into this film without needing to have seen the first one. I have read all of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series and love them, I also enjoyed the first film adaption – even though I have my doubts about Tom Cruise as Reacher (he is far too short for the 6ft 5 character in the books!), Tom is admittedly good at the action/adventure roles. The premise of Never Go Back is that Jack strikes up a friendship over the phone with Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders – Robin from How I Met Your Mother) and decides to visit her in person. Upon arrival in D.C. Reacher is informed that Turner has been arrested on suspicion of espionage and so sets out to clear her name. In the process though Reacher is informed that a woman has filed a paternity case against him claiming he is the father of her 15 year old daughter Sam (Danika Yarosh). It’s not long before Sam is being used as a way to get to Reacher and so he must protect her whilst working out if she really is his daughter.
There’s a lot going on plot wise in this film, it took me a while to figure out the names and general Army talk that was going on. Tom Cruise plays the character of Reacher very well, he has the ability to play fight scenes perfectly and he has the brooding moody look spot on. Unfortunately I can’t get past the fact that Reacher is supposed to be a hell of a lot taller and broader which would make the scenes where he takes down a bunch of enemies in one go with only his fists a lot more believable!
Cobie Smulders is fantastic as Major Turner, her character goes against all the stereotypical roles women get in action films. She is a capable women serving as a female commander in the US Military and she’s not afraid of a fight or two! Having only seen her in the comedy show How I Met Your Mother it was great to see another side to Cobie, and this certainly proves that she is capable of the more serious roles as well as the action ones. It was also great to have her character actually look like she’s been through some scrapes and not have perfect hair and make up right after an action scene like some films like to do!
Of course Jack Reacher is all about the fights and action sequences and there are plenty throughout. These tended to be more fist fights than anything too dramatic though so the film is not as good as the first one in that respect. Also the main enemy that is hunting them down doesn’t really give off too much of a dangerous feel which slightly ruins the whole aspect. On the other scale the addition of the possible daughter means that Reacher has to start looking out for someone other than himself – something very new to him – and Cruise and Yarosh work very well opposite each other. Ultimately though it turns into a Liam Neeson “I will find you and I will kill you” Taken movie as the enemy closes in on Sam.
Overall Never Go Back was a good film but not as good as the first on, Cobie was the stand out and gave a very good performance though. You don’t have to know anything from the previous film or the books to follow the story line but there was a lot of Army talk that went over my head at times. I hope they continue to adapt the books as I really do love the plots but unfortunately this one wasn’t quite up to scratch.