“Never Go Back:” a disappointing follow-up to great first film


Editor’s Note: The grading system used here is similar to the 10-point scale used in SDSU courses.


When the first “Jack Reacher” film was released, its audiences came out of the theater and told others about watching the intriguing mystery unfold. 

There was a talented cast of characters to support Tom Cruise as the lead with a plethora of plot twists that genuinely took audiences by surprise.

Unfortunately, the newest “Jack Reacher” movie has none of that.

“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” has kept only one of its lead characters, Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise), an ex-military investigator turned vigilante-type drifter exposing corruption wherever he finds it. After tipping off Army Major Susan Turner to the exploitation of undocumented immigrants, she invites him to visit her in Washington D.C.

When he arrives at his old unit, he finds that Turner has been arrested for accusations of treason. After easily breaking Turner out of the laughable high-security prison she’s being held in, the two bring Reacher’s newly discovered teenage daughter into their protection.

The unlikely (and uninteresting) trio embarks on a hunt to uncover the truth about military contractors they suspect are selling military weapons in the Middle East. 

Blah, blah, blah, you’ve seen this movie before.

At no point throughout the film did I feel as if I could truly relate to Reacher, or his struggles, both trying to solve the case and etch out a path as a new father. 

Possibly the most egregious aspect of this film is its action sequences, looking as if they were edited together in the back of a van at 90 mph.

Within the action of this film, the camera work hinders visibility, the choreography is uninspired and the editing gives away the cheats made on set.

To its credit, the film does attempt to introduce a few thought-stimulating topics. But it produces no real results.

In one scene between Reacher and Turner, a silly argument breaks out. Turner surprisingly discusses how she was second-guessed throughout her entire military career because of her gender. However this conversation around gender politics quickly becomes sidelined and forgotten.

The film also explores a narrative of veteran substance abuse. But again, this topic is introduced and brushed aside rather quickly.

This is a film that could have had new ideas to offer and explore with audiences, but one that drove its best concepts off a cliff.

At the end of the day, “Never Go Back” holds the answer to the “Jack Reacher” film franchise in its title. 

This was yet another sequel that didn’t need to happen.

Ian Lack is an advertising major at SDSU and can be reached at [email protected]