TOM Cruise’s latest flick sees the action star reprise the titular role of 2012’s Jack Reacher. For this sequel, Never Go Back, Cruise also re-teams with his Last Samurai director Edward Zwick (who also directed Blood Diamond and Legends of the Fall).

The film is based on the novel of the same name, by author Lee Child. I am personally a big fan of the books, and have read nearly all of the Reacher novels (there are currently 20 in the series, with a planned 21st book set to be released in November).

While the novel version of Never Go Back was a great read, it wouldn’t necessarily have been my first choice as the follow-up story to the 2012 film, which was based on the novel One Shot.

Never Go Back is the culmination of a story that started several books earlier, and I feel the movie version glossed over some key character development and story notes that took several novels to flesh out. If anything, Never Go Back should have been a third or fourth entry to the film series, not the second.

The movie was decent enough, though. I like Cruise, and what the actor lacks in physicality he more than makes up for in his portrayal of the character of Jack Reacher. Remember, the Reacher of the novels is six-foot-five and 250 pounds and has a 50-inch chest. Cruise is five-foot-seven and less than 200 pounds.

Again, Cruise plays the character of Reacher pretty much exactly as I envisioned him while reading the books, and getting the character right is arguably more important than having an actor that looks the part but lacks the skill and ability to serve the character justice.

The film was a step above your average, run-of-the-mill action fare, however it doesn’t live up to the freshness of the first film. While the original Jack Reacher in a lot of ways gave audiences a slightly different take on the macho anti-hero, Never Go Back comes dangerously close to becoming the very cliched trope that the original was trying to save audiences from.

Zwick did a great job shooting the film and framing the action, and the pace was right on. Cobie Smulders did a terrific job of playing the tough-as-nails Major Turner, and her and Cruise had some decent, believable chemistry.

I hope the movie does well enough to warrant another sequel, because some of the novels truly are fantastic stories that I would love to see on-screen.

However, I also feel that I probably wouldn’t lose any sleep if Never Go Back marks the end of the Reacher film franchise.

Ryan Mackett is an artist and film enthusiast who resides in Thunder Bay. Email questions or comments to him at

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