The INSIDER Summary:
• Tom Cruise is back to doing what he does best in the “Jack Reacher” sequel.
• But this is just as much Cobie Smulders’ movie as it is his.
Tom Cruise is back with a new movie out, “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.”
While the title may be a little corny — my brother and I whispered “never go back” throughout the film whenever something alluded to the sequel title — the film itself is very enjoyable.
It’s a lot of Cruise doing what he does best in action films: taking out bad guys and performing a lot of his own stunt work.
While watching, I thought I had the plot figured out pretty quickly. Reacher (Cruise), a former Military Police Corps officer, is continuously having flirty phone conversations with Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders), who has been helping him on various cases. He eventually makes his way to Washington, DC, to take her on a date only to find out that she’s been arrested and accused of espionage.
I thought the rest of the movie would follow Reacher punching and kicking his way to a date with Turner. It seemed obvious, even as Reacher was subsequently accused of murder, arrested, and proceeded to bust both himself and Turner out of a military prison to go on the run together as fugitives.
So I was pleasantly surprised when the movie took a twist.
Without spoiling the plot, I’ll just say Reacher doesn’t get the girl in the end — or at least, not exactly. There are no kissing or love scenes in this film, though both leads are seen with their shirts off (there’s even an entire scene where they just hang out, shirtless, talking business). There’s some flirting between the two throughout, but the movie is focused on finding out not only who set them up, but also discovering the mind behind a larger conspiracy that resulted in the deaths of two military officers under Turner’s command.
While you may go and see the film for the Cruise action — because, let’s be real for a second, this guy is 54 years old and is still doing some of his own stunts — you’re here for Smulders as well.
Half the time, she takes down a villain before Cruise’s Reacher can even blink. Reacher, who describes himself multiple times throughout the film as someone who prefers to work alone, is very impressed with her skills.
Smulders told Access Hollywood that there was a love scene filmed between the two of them, but it didn’t make the final cut of the film.
“I think in the end, it was more unexpected to have them not get together,” Smulders told Access Hollywood’s Alex Hudgens on the film’s red carpet.
Smulders suggested that maybe when the film was completed, producers found it played better without the scene.
Personally, I’m glad it wasn’t included. It would have been such a cliché moment and would have made Smulders, who plays a Major in the film, feel second to Reacher’s free-roaming ex-military officer.
Can we not just have two kick-arse, attractive, and capable leads in a film where the endgame isn’t to match them together? I’m hoping that’s what someone at Paramount — or in the film production — asked before dumping the love scene.
Fans are already familiar with Smulders as Agent Maria Hill in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We don’t need to see her downgraded to a simple “love interest” for Cruise. She can more than hold her own on screen.
While Cruise and Smulders shine, you won’t walk out of this movie thinking it’s the best film ever. Robert Knepper (“Prison Break”) is wasted as a mysterious villain who doesn’t really pull any punches in the film other than looking menacing and that’s unfortunate.
I should mention there’s also a side plot about a possible daughter Reacher may have which gets him and Turner wrangled up with a 15-year-old girl. She becomes a bit of an annoyance as she uses electronics and later a credit card to get the trio traced, but eventually she becomes a helpful ally. She even gets her own scene where she takes a guy down.
Overall, if you head out and see “Never Go Back,” I think you’ll leave thinking you saw a pretty good action film. If you’re a Cruise or Smulders fan, you should leave happy.
“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” is in theatres Friday, October 21.
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