Both films are based on novels in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Childs and whilst the original wasn't as well received in North American markets as it was expected, it enjoyed success internationally making this sequel possible. "The ronin were those masterless men who roamed around, and yet they found themselves getting involved in circumstances they hadn't expected", says the Jack Reacher director. The same goes for Cobie Smulders playing a slightly altered version of her Marvel character Maria Hill, and Danika Yarosh, who plays Samantha, the girl who may or may not be Reacher's daughter. He gets drawn into this story to work with her and help her out of a situation.
What makes an archetypal character like this fun to watch is an unpredictable story, where the audience and protagonist together uncover the mystery. As Corden tried to give his best Rod Tidwell impression, Cruise's co-star Cuba Gooding Jr. stepped out and asked Corden, "What are you doing?" Reacher, himself a former military policeman, shows up for a meeting with Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders), only to discover that she's been arrested and accused of espionage. And, apparently, the 54 year old actor has yet to lose a step.
Now Cruise is back in London and ready to press some flesh. "I feel the need, the need for speed", they said while wearing matching olive bomber jackets. Few actors could play such a cardboard role with absolute conviction, and Cruise tops the list. He breaks Turner out of jail and the two go on the run, pursued by shady individuals from a private military contractor. "That defines me I think".
Jack Reacher returns with his particular brand of justice in the sequel "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back". It would even tend to prefer the first because this new component of Jack Reacher is more current. The so-so effort of "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back" fails to clear that high bar.
"Jack Reacher: Never Go Back" is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some bloody images, language and thematic elements.
This attempt to humanise the character makes his bursts of brutal violence all the more awkward, though the film rarely seems to even remember that it's supposed to be in the action genre, with a handful of fight moments spread over the two hour running time.