Tom Cruise again miscasts himself in another entertaining caper featuring Lee Child’s super (ex) soldier. Cruise trades original Jack Reacher director Christopher McQuarrie for Last Samurai’s Edward Zwick. The result features pedestrian action set-pieces that are already forgotten a few days later (TC’s running YouTube video should finally break 20 minutes!) and some D-grade supporting actors who promote an aura of VOD-ness.
The step down from a villainous Werner Herzog to Patrick Heusinger (already using Jai Courtney really hamstrung their casting of a young military douchebag) and Evil Meat Loaf (familiar face Holt McCallany, aka that guy who always plays a jerk) is huge. Ben Affleck proved a much better Reacher-ish protagonist in The Accountant, but Cruise still has charm to spare. After nine seasons as Robin Scherbatsky on “How I Met Your Mother” and too little to do as The Avengers’ Maria Hill, Cobie Smulders makes the most of her spotlight as Cruise’s featured support. She does tough-and-pretty well.
As entertainingly disposable as both movies have been, Jack Reacher would make a better weekly series than it is a movie franchise. Never Go Back will probably only be remembered as the movie where Tom Cruise started to show some—not his—age.