'Jack Reacher: Never Go Back' Pairs High-Budget Action with Epic Dullness

‘Jack Reacher: Never Go Back’ Pairs High-Budget Action with Epic Dullness

Armed with a title and role begging to be parodied, Tom Cruise returns to the scene of his cinematic crimes in 2012’s Jack Reacher with a new installment, Never Go Back, once again playing Lee Childs’ skull-cracking ex-military drifter. The first Reacher round at least boasted a nice, spare B-movie throwback vibe, a cool car chase, enjoyable undertones of its hero’s being a modern-day ronin, the always welcome Rosamund Pike and the unexpectedly smart choice of villain—Werner Herzog. This time out, though, things are slower, less grabby, less inspired and more villain-challenged than pretty much any crime show you can catch any night on TV.  The storyline, such as it is, comes from Lee Childs’ 18th Reacher novel and runs like so: On the downlow in Virginia, ex-Major Reacher strikes up an improbable phone flirtation with his replacement in the military police unit, one Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders, clench-jawed, fit as hell and utterly humorless). For a guy who had such…

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