Jack Reacher is back in Never Go Back, the second installment in the Tom Cruise-led action series based on Lee Child's books. Though audiences seem generally pleased, per Rotten Tomatoes, critics seem to hate it almost as much as they hate the movie's title. Here's what they're saying:
- Starting with a chase scene during a Halloween parade—essentially "one elongated sequence of very bad badness"—"the whole thing is just so sloppy and dumb and overflowing with cliches," writes Richard Roeper at the Chicago Sun-Times. As for Cruise, "it's apropos he's often wielding a cellular device in this movie, because this is the very definition of phoning it in."
- Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is "the sequel no one asked for to the movie that no one quite remembers,” or as Chris Nashawaty at Entertainment Weekly prefers to call it, "an unremarkable placeholder until the next Mission: Impossible flick comes along." Cruise doesn't "half-ass" the acting, but that hardly saves the film, he says. Without a decent villain and any real twists, "this is as blandly formulaic as sequels come."
- Kenneth Turan is more receptive. Despite the film's flaws—like unfortunate changes to the plot of the book—"the strength of the character and the briskness of the action make it acceptable if you are in the mood," he writes at the Los Angeles Times. Cruise is "completely suitable" as Reacher and Cobie Smulders holds her own as the female action hero, he adds.
- Chris Klimek at NPR, however, doesn't have much to praise besides the "bright spot" that is Smulders. "Never Go Back is deeply mediocre, as rote and indistinct as most of the action flicks that've marked Liam Neeson's late-career lull," he writes. While he liked the first installment, here "the offbeat jokes are gone, as is the coterie of interesting character actors and the clean, precise stunt work."
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