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Jack Reacher  : Not Worth A Return
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Friday, October 21, 2016
Christopher McQuarrie
Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins

You may time it on your watch.


Every ten minutes, Major Reacher breaks a few bones. That’s when he’s not reminding every uniform at the Military Police that he’s an ex-Major.


There’s a slim plot about a female Major that Reacher wanted to take out on a dinner date. But by the time he turns up, Major Susan Turner’s arrested on a charge of espionage. Jack Reacher who’s forever fighting somebody else’s battle, decides that this time around, he’ll get justice for Major Turner.


Three screenplay writers including Edward Zwick who directed Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai, retread a tired thought. Higher-ups in the Military Police collude with nefarious elements. The plot is thickened with drugs and illegal arms to insurgents in Afghanistan. Anybody caught sniffing around is arrested or eliminated.


Along with the action, there’s a bit of light-hearted humour, like the scene where Reacher and Turner escape from jail desperately looking for a black sedan. They run out to find a sea of black sedans in the car park.


With Jack Reacher having no permanent address or emotional baggage to weigh him down, there’s a hint that perhaps there’s someone who’ll be his anchor. It comes in the form of 15-year-old Sam or Samantha whose mother has claimed that Reacher is her father. With the enemies targeting Sam to get Reacher, the ex-Major turns protective dad even if he isn’t her parent. It’s almost a family scene with Reacher, Turner and Sam sharing an unspoken chemistry which is done antiseptically but can be felt. There’s also a mushy goodbye at the end between dad and daughter who’re not really related.


Considering the second edition of Jack Reacher doesn’t stand on a substantial structure, one doubts there’ll be a third. But if there is, the almost-family scene will figure in it for sure.    


It’s become de rigueur for films to have a token feminist by casting her as a kickass female in uniform. Cobie Smulders provides it with her Major Turner act. But it’s Reacher who’s smart enough to add up the numbers that baffle her and he’s the one who gets to break the bones that really matter.


So that’s about it, folks. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back need not have returned since it doesn’t have a strong story to tell. As for Tom Cruise fans, even box-office gods have to age.


For a film that has action scenes strung together with small daubs of emotion, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back gets a 2.5* rating.


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author
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