Edward Zwick takes the directorial reins for Jack Reacher: Never Go Back; an agreeably average action thriller elevated a little by the central relationships between Reacher (Tom Cruise), framed-for-espionage Major Turner (Cobie Smulders – best known for her role in the Avengers movies), and is-she-or-isn’t-she-his-daughter Samantha (Danika Yarosh).
Lest we forget, Zwick isn’t just responsible for cinematic gems like Glory, The Last Samurai and Blood Diamond, but also the woeful Legends of the Fall (truly one of the worst films I have ever seen). How does he acquit himself with a blockbuster thriller with lots of running, jumping and fighting? Well, for the most part pretty well. The plot isn’t as strong as in the previous movie, but the afore-mentioned relationships make this an entertaining watch. The machinations of the plot concern Turner framed for espionage and later murder (along with Reacher himself). Both end up as fugitives and attempt to unravel the conspiracy against them, which involves decommissioned weapons shipments, drug smuggling and… oh, the usual nonsense.
Tom Cruise hardly needs to try in a role like this, but his banter with Smulders and the wonderful Danika Yarosh provide the best scenes in the film. It is hardly groundbreaking, but Never Go Back is a satisfying additional adaptation of the Lee Child novels. There are plenty of loud and violent fight scenes which push the 12A rating in agreeable fashion, whilst cleverly keeping the nastier bone-crunching offscreen.
In short, an agreeable and intermittently exciting diversion.