Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Tom Cruise is back as the eponymous righter of wrongs in Edward Zwick's muscular action sequel
Ex US military policeman turned knight errant and noble loner Jack Reacher is back (title notwithstanding), with Tom Cruise reprising the role he debuted in the 2012 film. Never Go Back is a slick suspenser adapted from the 18th Reacher novel by prolific British thriller writer Lee Child. Child has every reason to be as pleased with this adaptation as he was with the first. Cruise's Reacher is, like Child's, a formidable presence you well believe can take out four assassins with a few well-aimed blows, a strong, smart, sympathetic and unstoppable righter of wrongs, who is a refreshing change from the alcoholic miserables who dominate the crime genre.
No sooner has Reacher finally decided to invite his military friend and fellow crime-buster Major Susan Turner (a fierce Cobie Smulders) to a potentially romantic dinner, than he learns she's been framed for espionage and imprisoned. Swiftly ascertaining that she's been isolated and targeted for murder, the race is on for Reacher to bust her out and go on the lam with her in search of the truth. What's going on is conspiracy, corruption, weapons-for-drugs skullduggery, murder and high treason. In case that isn't enough to deal with, Jack suddenly has in tow a tearaway 15-year-old girl (Danika Yarosh) who may be his daughter.
There's a comfortably familiar, old-fashioned feel to proceedings but it's solid, muscular action entertainment. So even the more absurd set-pieces (you must have noticed that every time good guys and bad guys have a chase in New Orleans they wind up entangled in a parade) are attractive fun. Best of all, the women in this film rock. Smulders gets to do the driving in the big car chase, she and Yarosh have conversations that aren't about men, and both women are resourceful, independent, kick-ass characters who aren't there just to make Cruise look good. Which he still does, by the way.
General release from Fri 21 Oct.