Review – Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)

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jack-reacher-never-go-back-5861328637d22I’m trying something new. Telling you my score in general, as well as explaining it, isn’t specific enough! So, I’ve come up with a new review model that tells you exactly – star by star, where the film had it’s pluses and negatives. That’s right, every star has it’s very own explanation and meaning. How does that sound? Good? Good, if not, oh well.

Here’s how the model works:

There are ten categories taken into consideration. Five categories are generic categories used for every movie – and the final five categories are specialized for that specific movie based off of expectations, stereotypes of the genre, stereotypes of the actors in this movie, etc. The specialized categories will change for every review, making this ratings model unique all on its own.

So, the first film we’ll go over with this model is Jack Reacher: Never Go Back – the sequel to Tom Cruise’s latest film series. So let’s see how this works.

People
★★★★★★★★★☆

 

  1.  Good Acting: ★★
    • People often give Tom Cruise flack because of his ability to act, because to be fair, it really is basically the same thing every time. That being said, whether or not it’s true, his ability to act actually isn’t bad. He can force a lot of emotion through all those slowly-aging pores on his face – even as he pushes his body to consistently do the extreme. That being said, Cruise is not the only player on screen, but thankfully, everyone on screen did a pretty decent job alongside him.
  2.  Good Characters: ★★
    • When I saw the first Jack Reacher movie, I wasn’t sure what I was expecting as far as characters went. All I had was a basic expectation based off of the trailers, which weren’t entirely truthful about much of anything. That being said,  the character was actually pretty interesting, I was just upset at the time, because of the arguably false advertising that sold him as something different that what he was. But, his character itself isn’t bad. If you look at all of his most recent works, you’d notice Jack Reacher is a bit different than what you normally see.
    • The other characters in this film, like Turner and Samantha, did a fantastic job at changing things up and making this movie something special all on its own.
  3.  Good Casting: ★★
    • The choice for Tom Cruise in this role is obvious, given this is a sequel…but even so, when you’re talking about his character in general, Tom Cruise seems like a decent choice. Cobie Smulders as Turner and Danika Yarosh as Samantha were the new players this time around, and they both did a great job playing these characters. Never once did I feel like they didn’t feel like they didn’t fit into their roles. Cobie’s history in films like The Avengers definitely prepped her for the likes of her role of Turner, and her role opposite of Cruise definitely makes sense, given how they both pull off their own stunt work.
  4.  Good Importance: ★☆
    • When I say importance, I mean the characters opposite of Tom Cruise have independent goals, and they aren’t all just two-sided in order to pull most of the focus on Tommy boy. I gave this subcategory a half score because it’s one of those things where you can say…well…yes and no. Cobie’s role specifically has a very important storyline all on her own, but Samantha doesn’t. The existence of her character is important enough, but she’s one of those characters that don’t actually do anything but slow down the main players in the most annoying of ways…because they’re kind of…stupid.
  5.  Good chemistry: ★★
    • This, of course, comes down to both characters and their respected actors, because not only do characters need chemistry, the actors need it, too. In the case of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back – I believed that all of the three main characters and their actors had a noticeably decent chemistry level, especially when it came down to the reason why they are there in the first place. It all culminates to this, and it’s their chemistry that sort of acts like a glue, making the category for people really decent.

Writing
★★★★★★★☆☆☆

 

  1.  Good Dialogue: ★★
    • I can’t really say there were many one-liners that were over-the-top memorable in this film, but I also can’t really say there was anything wrong with dialogue either. What they said made sense. It’s really pretty difficult not to score for this, that’s all I’m saying.
  2.  Good Balance: ★★
    • When I say balance, I mean…is this movie convoluted? Well, surprisingly, this film does actually have a good balance. Even though it’s based off a book. Books made into films often have a problem with convolution, because they have to cut certain things out. Now, I’m sure they cut out a lot out of the book, due to Tom Cruise’s insistence to making action-oriented movies – which are definitely basic. That means the book probably isn’t even close.
  3.  Good Story: ★☆
    • I only gave this one out of two stars, because the story itself isn’t entirely incredible. There were moments here and there that were especially neat (just like the first movie), and then a lot of lulling moments as well. The story in and of itself is simply…okay. You’re not going to tell anyone that this movie has a great story, because, in all honest, it’s just…fine.
  4.  Original: ☆☆
    • Okay, so this is the first subcategory that hasn’t received any points at all. This is because the film doesn’t really feel original, and instead more like something we’ve seen so many times before…even though we haven’t. What can I say? That’s one of the downsides Tom Cruise sometimes has.
  5.  Interesting: ★★
    • Now, just because the movie isn’t entirely original, doesn’t mean it’s not interesting. We all have interesting films that we watch multiple times, don’t we? Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is actually an interesting movie. I believe an audience decides what is interesting or not in the first 15-30 minutes of the film. That timeframe introduced us to three interesting characters and why, and when something happens to these characters, you’re interested enough to commit to watch the rest of the film

Behind-the-Scenes
★★★★★★★☆☆☆

 

  1.  Visuals: ★☆
    • Sometimes, I give only one star to subcategories that were neither great…nor bad. These are points that basically go by unnoticed, and visuals is one of those subcategories that get a 1-star rating. Everything here is business-as-usual.
  2.  Directing: ★★
    • The director had a vision as to what he wanted this movie to look like, how he wanted people to act in order to pull off the written versions in the script, and as far as I can tell, the script was made into a movie exactly how they intended.
  3.  Editing: ★★
    • The same goes for editing as it does for directing.
  4.  Advertisement: ★☆
    • It’s been a while since I actually saw the trailers or promotional things for this movie, but I noticed they were a little more honest with this one than they were with the last movie…but this time, they kinda left out how much MORE action there would be in this one…so it was sort of, the other way around. One point here.
  5.  Music: ★☆
    • I was actually keeping an ear out for the score for this film. While it fit well enough, it’s not anything I care to hear again. It’s a very basic score that meets the minimum requirements as to what’s going on in the movie, nor more, no less.

Narrative Arc
★★★★★★★★★★

 

  1.  Introduction: ★★
    • Yes, I’m including a narrative arc category, because believe it or not, it’s important. You may have trouble placing your finger on just what was missing in the movie, but that actually might be something on this list that was weak or even missing. Thankfully in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, the narrative arc was fully intact. The introduction, or the normal life segment, was there, and it wasn’t rushed through.
  2.  Inciting Incident/Crossing the Threshold: ★★
    • The inciting incident was, in my opinion, when Jack Reacher discovers that Sergeant Turner was sent to prison all of a sudden, and no one will really even tell Jack Reacher why that is.
    • Crossing the threshold is a moment when there’s not turning back, and thankfully due to the title, we knew this was definitely going to happen in the movie. It’s when he decides to break Turner out of an army prison and become federal fugitives. This subcategory gets full points.
  3.  Obstacles: ★★
    • Even though I’m not a fan of why the obstacles even exist, I can’t ignore that they clearly exist, nonetheless. Full points.
  4.  Epiphany/Climax: ★★
    • Okay, cause this is dealing with the end, I can’t go into details as to what these things are exactly, I can tell you it has both an epiphany moment, as well as a decent climax. In case you are wondering, the epiphany is when the main character makes a last minute decision or choice, basically to head to that eventual climax, or set it into motion. Full points here.
  5.  Falling Action: ★★
    • Once again, more ending stuff, so no spoilers, but the climax happens, and it doesn’t go directly into the credits. It settles down and comes full circle. Full points.

Overall entertainment
★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

 

  1.  Rewatchability: ★☆
    • Unfortunately, this is the category that had the lowest marks, in an entirely staggering amount. I gave this one star because when it comes to rewatchability, I would watch this movie again if it so happened to be playing on TV and I had nothing else going on. I didn’t hate it, nor did I love it enough to seek it out for another viewing either. One point.
  2.  Fun: ★☆
    • Is it fun? Yes and no, again. It’s fun when fun or tense things are happening. That is, the stuff that is technically not really all that important. There is indeed moments in this film that you could consider quite boring, as well. One point.
  3.  Impulse to buy it:
    • As I said before, I don’t really have an impulse to watch it again, so of course, I don’t have an impulse to buy it either. There’s no need to buy it. One viewing is enough. No points here.
  4.  Impulse to talk to someone about it:
    • OMG, have you see the new Jack Reacher movie? Who cares? If you saw it, great, if you haven’t seen it, great. I know once I finished talking about it, I didn’t talk to a single soul about it. No points here, either.
  5.  Sucks the audience in:
    • No points. I was never sucked in.

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Mystery
★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

 

Now, we move onto the specialized categories, first up is mystery. When it comes to the Jack Reacher franchise, you notice one major thing…these have something to do with a mystery, more so than action. The same applies for the sequel, but not as interesting or unique as the first movie. Especially, because this movie focused more on the action. I’m guessing because people complained about the lack of action in the first movie. Five points.

Action
★★★★★★★★★★

 

Based off of the trailers, it seemed as if this movie might have included a little more action than the first film, and it definitely does. It’s still not the same as, say, what you’re used to seeing from Tom Cruise, but it’s noticeable enough  to see that the choreography as top notch when there WAS action, and there was even some memorable action sequences as well. Full points here.

Tom Cruise-isms
★★★★★★★★★★

 

Now, you can say the stereotypes surrounding Tom Cruise aren’t positives all you want, but I believe they are pretty decent. It’s almost as if, this is how you KNOW that you are watching a Tom Cruise movie: If it feels like a big movie, if at some point, he runs, yells, walks around shirtless, runs some more, yells some more, etc. Trust me folks, he doesn’t miss a beat this time, either. Full points.

Sequel
★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

 

When I say sequel as the category, I really mean…does this fit inside the known universe? Does it feel like a sequel? Do they add anything to the franchise? And most importantly, do you want another sequel to the movie, continuing the life of this series? To answer that, yes, I totally feel as if this fits right in with the series, and I actually do believe they added to the franchise with the characters of Turner and Samantha. Do I want another sequel though? No, not necessarily.  I would probably watch it if it were made, but I’m not holding my breath. Five points here.

Halfway Decent
★★★★★★★★★★

 

This will be a common subcategory in my specialized categories because I’m a strange critic. If this movie is halfway decent, I take that into consideration when I write my reviews. To me, that’s important, because I know I can’t make anything halfway decent. If a real movie can do that, then they deserve the respect that other critics refuse to give out. So was Jack Reacher: Never Go Back halfway decent? Absolutely. Full points.

RATING: 75/100

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