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Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Plot Summary:

When a major (Cobie Smulders) in the army is arrested for espionage, Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) believes her to be innocent and investigates the case.  They uncover a deep cover up involving the sale of illegal weapons.  Jack is also tasked with protecting a teenager (Danika Yarosh) who could be his daughter.

The trailer for the first Jack Reacher looked boring and forgettable.  The movie turned out awesome.  The trailer for the sequel looked awesome.  The movie turned out boring and forgettable.  Maybe some characters are only meant to have one film.  On the flipside, maybe there could be a great Jack Reacher sequel, but it gets completely screwed over.  I’m going with the latter.  It’s almost like the filmmakers took what worked about the first movie and said, “How can we make this worse?”  What made Jack Reacher so good was Jack Reacher.  He was Jason Bourne, but an asshole.  This movie gives us a completely watered down Jack Reacher.

reacher-pic-1 Jack Reacher is a complete drifter who works alone.  The first half hour wasn’t bad.  We see Jack Reacher do his thing, and it’s fairly entertaining.  Then he teams up with Cobie Smulders, essentially giving Reacher a sidekick.  While he worked with Rosamund Pike’s character in the first film here and there, he went out and kicked ass by himself.  I understand taking the character out of his element, but it’s too much here.  Cruise and Smulders definitely have chemistry, but their relationship dries up pretty fast.  Reacher works better alone.  They also strip the character of all his funny and cool lines.  What the hell happened?  You would think this would be the worst part of the film, right?  Not even close.

The big monkey wrench they throw into this sequel is a fifteen-year-old girl who may be Reacher’s daughter.  This was a really, really, really bad decision.  If written well, I could see this working.  In fact, their first scene together shows promise.  Everything after that goes completely off the rails.  The daughter is written poorly.  The actress is annoying, completely over acting everything.  This completely derails the film.  Not only is Reacher working with a partner throughout the movie, but now he’s basically in a family oriented team up.  Horrible decision.  There are even scenes where it gets sitcomey between Cobie Smulders and Danika Yarosh who plays the daughter character.  Can we please get back to Reacher breaking people’s arms?  Come on.

Not only do the primary characters blow bags, but so does everything else.  The plot was patched together with scotch tape and Elmer’s glue.  I stopped caring halfway through.  So did the film.  The first movie had solid and charismatic villains.  Not here.  Robert Knepper, who I usually like, had 2-3 scenes.  He does a horrible accent, and that’s about it.  Then we have Patrick Heusinger, who just yells occasionally.  Yay.  Aldis Hodge also plays a key role as a military cop, but he’s completely forgettable with cringe-worthy lines.  Speaking of military cops, Jack Reacher and Turner (Smulders) are supposed to be highly trained military operatives, yet they are always eating junk food.  Seriously.  Burgers.  Fries.  Pancakes.  What the hell?  Just a random thought.  You know a movie is bad when you start nitpicking.

There’s not much else to say.  A few decent action scenes and Tom Cruise make this passable, but even Cruise checked out at times.  The end is drawn out beyond belief.  I can’t express enough how bad a decision it was to incorporate the daughter, who also does something so colossally stupid at the end, I can’t look past it.  It’s just so dumb.  I would give Jack Reacher another shot, but not here.  They took the Jack Reacher out of Jack Reacher.

Rating: 5 out of 10 (Barely Passable Entertainment)

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Daniel Cohen is the Film Editor for Pop-Break. Aside from reviews, Daniel does a weekly box office predictions column, and also contributes monthly Top Tens and Op-Ed’s on all things film. Daniel is a graduate of Bates College with a degree in English, and also studied Screenwriting at UCLA. He can also be read on www.movieshenanigans.com. His movie crush is Jessica Rabbit. Follow him on Twitter @dcohenwriter.

Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.