CHARACTER EXPANSION -
BSC, CA – Jack Reacher Never Go Back opened today and as one of the eagerly awaited films on the BSC list [Rogue 1; Dr. Strange follow], we joined the crowd seeing an early show. Also the showing we hit wasn't an Imax because it is the story, not the effects that BSC readers really want to know about, or as much as can be said without spoilers.
Personal reaction. I liked it as did my co-reviewer. We both saw the original Jack Reacher 2012 at the movies and I bought the DVD so I got familiar with the character Jack Reacher. Never Go Back almost lets some of Tom Cruise into the picture, perhaps because Cruise is more comfortable with the portrayal. Still, if Cruise shines through, it's just a glimpse.
Tom Cruise is the type of movie star almost like a John Wayne. His action hero is his persona onscreen. But Tom Cruise can also lose Tom Cruise in character, as he did as Les Grossman [Tropic Thunder] or the hit man in Jamie Foxx's cab. Jack Reacher is that sort of character, men of action. Reacher is a character of action, and this time we get to see more of the character Jack Reacher is.
Action again fills the atmosphere as this time the plot doesn't just involve Reacher and one other support character like a female DA. The characters of conflict expand this outing to allow the viewer to witness more of Reacher, the person, a loner, this time not quite so cut and dried, but definitely still ass-kicking.
The female co-protagonist this time is the woman occupying Reacher's old office dept. As the movie enfolds, we get to see that this woman is as down in the dirt as Reacher, but realistically [probably] there is a reason most competitive arenas are gender specific. Though the Reacher counterpart is tough as nails, she gets tossed around the way a man throws a woman, she's a scrapper not the Black Widow. The fight scenes are action-packed and she gets her licks in by being quick-witted. The dialogue may seem flat [not the sparkle like the DA who had the hots for Reacher] between the two but realistically, people don't fall in love over the course of a movie unless it is a movie. Both characters are loners, hence exact positions in the Service.
The scope of JR2 opens broader in range, in characters, in themes, and in location. Gone are the narrow hall shots and claustrophobic ambience of JR1. The set pieces open up to reveal some explosions, foot chases, and slick moves by JR and his small band of folks in need.
As original, Rotten Tomatoes gave JR2 Never Go Back just 38% and that may be so, since the movie opens with the drifter scenario and closes with it, but for the fans who gave the movie 87% or 4 Stars. JR2 Never Go Back delivers in that the person of Jack Reacher is explored, past the person you didn't count on, past the person who is left standing, to the core of a loner; someone who once had the kid in them, perhaps their idealism, violently shattered leaving only justice as the bulkhead against the loneliness of loss. And best of all, we get to see Tom Cruise run again.