After accomplishing the assignment of dismantling a human trafficking organization, the former military and drifter Jack Reacher goes to Washington to invite his liaison, Major Susan Turner, to have dinner with him. However, he meets her substitute, Colonel Sam Morgan, who explains that Major Turner has been arrested and accused of espionage. Jack seeks out her veteran lawyer, Colonel Bob Moorcroft, who explains that Major Turner has also been accused of the murders of two soldiers in Afghanistan. Further, he also tells Jack he is being sued, accused by a woman of being the father of her fifteen year-old daughter, Samantha. When Moorcroft is murdered, Jack is accused of being the killer and sent to a prison. He sees that Turner and he have been framed and also that Turner will be killed by two assassins. However, he rescues her and they flee. Soon, they realize that there is a conspiracy involving military people from the army and a government contractor that is a powerful arms dealer...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The studio originally considered adapting "61 Hours," the fourteenth novel in the "Jack Reacher" book series, as the second film. However, according to Lee Child, the main challenge was the practical complexity to set a thousand miles of snow in South Dakota to accommodate the winter setting. After seeing a copy of the novel "Never Go Back" (2013) during the book's release, they decided to settle on this book because "the character of Samantha forms a three-hander in audience appeal, i.e. Jack, Susan and Sam who are interested with the pair." Child also added that if there would be a third film, the studio (around 2011) had already decided to use "Bad Luck and Trouble" (2007; Book 11), as "they feel they would be ready for an ensemble piece." See more »
As Turner, Reacher and Samantha are deplaning, you can see that most of the other passengers have already left the aircraft. However, only a couple of the overhead bins are ajar, and none are fully open. This would not be the configuration of the overheads at this point; most of them would be open. See more »
[moving through crowd of spectators]
Pardon me. Excuse me. Step aside please.
[breaks through and sees battered men on the ground]
Lee's Diner. I got four down. I need two EMS vehicles.
See more »
Never Go Back, indeed. I'm reviewing this long after seeing it in the theater and I haven't seen it since despite its availability on Netflix, Hulu, Prime. The disappointment I felt then is still palpable today, especially after recently re-watching the first film.
There is little difference between the first and second films in terms of production level, casting, story line, etc. Yet it's the collective of many small differences and attention to detail that makes one film great and the other a dud. I gave this one a 6 because it satisfies fundamental aspects of an action film, and those who rated the sequel higher than 6 or liked it, consistently to gravitated to that point. However, the first film more than satisfies all that too, but then outshines the sequel in every other way, making it a complete film in my opinion. This sequel falls flat in all those other aspects.
I think this film suffers very specifically from two problems - its comparison to the first film and its director. McQuarrie, who directed the first, is known more for his writing resume and has limited directing time, yet seems to understand the concept of satisfying action film fans while maintaining the continuity of a good overall film. Despite his short director resume, he has been consistent in action films.
In contrast, Zwick, who directed the sequel, has an Oscar-sprinkled director resume, but is known for drama epics. It seems clear to me that there was a shortsighted agenda by producers to change the direction of the feel, politics, rhetoric or something, but it was a bad idea. Jason Bourne, which came out the same year, had the same problem even though is had the same director as previous sequels. That's why I think it is an agenda thing from the producers.
Sequels tend to not be as good as the first, but usually because producers shamefully try to maximize capitalization on the success of the first film by skimping on big details like the director, the script and top actors in the followup film. However, Zwick and Greengrass wouldn't be cheap, plus top actors are still there and production levels alone keep the budgets high. Yet the first films in Reacher and Bourne still stand out so much more. Why? Attention to detail. Like a band's first album - they simply seemed to be trying to nail the small details in addition to the big ones.
Producers of Reacher and Bourne either don't understand why the first films were good, or don't care. I lean toward the latter. They only want your money and their agenda pushed. They don't care about longevity. Dollars can be found in the next fad.
Many reviewers have pointed out some of these flaws with the second film that were not in the first, or not as bad. Forced dialogue, implausible action scenes, all the good scenes in the trailer, hokey drama, flat/weak characters, cliche settings, and so on. I'll add these to it:
The opening sequence was the only part of the sequel that seemed like the first film. I think that was strategic. If some people knew better, they'd never had gone in the first place. Next, Cruise didn't seem interested the entire film. He appeared to be going though the motions in many scenes, while he seemed to relish in the character of the first film. Smulders should've been a perfect fit for her role, yet her performance wasn't half as good as Rosamund Pike in the first film. Outside of Cruise and Smulders, there were no other memorable performances or characters. The first film had dozens of well-thought out and well-performed characters. Every actor was fitting and at least up to par in the first Reacher. I think its worst performance was the local detective, and he at least did okay. No other secondary role in the sequel reached his level. There was NOBODY like Jenkins, Courtney, Herzog or Duvall in the 2nd film and these were big names playing secondary roles in the first Reacher. But even the next level roles like the supposed gunman, the thugs at the bar and the victims on the river were well-played and fitting compared to just about everyone in the sequel. Even the brief scene by the auto store manager in the first film was better performed and more memorable than the roles of the entire sequel.
Finally, the action scenes in both films can be criticized as unrealistic, and the final fight scene in the first film was one of the few things I didn't like in that one. But at least everything in the first film was plausible compared to the sequel. As one reviewer noted, the sequel stepped back into the cliches of the 90s for much of the action scenes. Maybe Zwick didn't know any better and they rushed through the details believing or hoping it would pass, just like the recent Jason Bourne film. It's as if they believe most people are dumb enough to believe some very stupid things (like remotely accessing CCTV cameras). Maybe people are that naive or simply that eager for ANY entertainment, but the IMDB ratings at least slightly show otherwise. If the direction of Reacher continues this way, I won't even consider going to the next one. I'd need some significant reassurances.
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