Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Directed by: Edward Zwick
Run time: 118 minutes
The Lowdown: It’s better than the first Jack Reacher film, so that’s something.
Hollywood’s determination to create another Tom Cruise action franchise, this one built around the novels of author Lee Child (Spoiler alert: That’s a pen name), sputtered in 2012’s Jack Reacher. The film was a hot mess of stilted, wooden dialogue and zero chemistry between Cruise and leading lady Rosamund Pike interspersed with a few choice action sequences that couldn’t make up for the sloppy plot and tough guy clichés.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back doesn’t have the greatest plot, and it introduces a whale of a ridiculous plot device – Gasp! The daughter he never knew he had! – but Cruise’s dependable delivery and his sheer willpower to carry the entire enterprise on his shoulders, like a solider in wartime refusing to leave a man behind, advances Never Go Back through its paces.
I like Cruise as an actor. I think he gets a bad rap for his personal lifestyle choices because the bulk of his films are truly enjoyable, and likely otherwise wouldn’t get made without his star power backing.
But I’m baffled as to why, in a world that can come up with an unbelievably cool character and franchise for Keanu Reeves with John Wick, no one can give Cruise better material or an actual likeable character to play that fans would rally behind and validate the need for return appearances.
The Stuff You Care About:
Hot chicks – Yes.
Nudity – No.
Gore – No.
Drug use – No.
Bad Guys/Killers – Garden-variety government bad guys.
Buy/Rent – Rent it.
Masterminds (Relativity Media, 95 minutes, PG-13, Blu-Ray): The good news is that Masterminds doesn’t feel like a Jared Hess movie, and maybe that’s because he didn’t write the script. Hess’ films can sometimes feel like an unexpected acid trip for the brain, and not in a good way. But here, buoyed by a game and funny cast, featuring the first good role for Owen Wilson in years, Hess is free to simply create off-kilter and subversive scenarios in which to place his characters and then get out of the way, allowing the funny people to do their job. Kate McKinnon once again steals the film, much like she did in Ghostbusters. I dare you not to laugh and cringe in equal measure when she describes how she first met Zach Galifianakis’ character. If you’re looking for silly laughs and zero seriousness, Masterminds is an unexpected delight.
Love Camp 7: Two-Disc Limited Edition
Not to be Overlooked:
New Releases for January 24, 2017
The Monster (A24, 91 minutes, R, Blu-Ray): Bryan Bertino’s creature feature is one of the best genre films in recent memory, a monster mash-up of family drama and genuine frights that satisfies on every level.
Poltergeist III – Collector’s Edition
Poltergeist II: The Other Side – Collector’s Edition
USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage
The Black Society Trilogy