After proving a lot of Jack Reacher-naysayers wrong with his first outing as the nomadic off-the-grid ex-military man – you could argue Tom Cruise shouldn’t have gone back for a second helping that could undo his good work.
But never, say never, and while this isn’t as well-crafted as Christopher McQuarrie’s first film – which was a sleeper hit of 2012 – this still proves to be a watchable sequel, despite lacking the ingenuity of the original.
This time Ed Zwick (Legends of the Fall) – who worked with Cruise on The Last Samurai – takes over the reins from McQuarrie, and even though he still retains the essence of the sterling work the leading man’s already achieved with Reacher, it does veer into generic military thriller territory with its inconsistent plotting.
After dismantling a human trafficking ring, Reacher briefly goes back ‘on the radar’ to meet Major Susan Turner (Avengers Assemble’s Cobie Smulders) – who was assisting him with his investigation – but after reaching Washington learns she has been detained after being accused of espionage.
But when Reacher investigates and realises she’s been framed to cover up a shady multi million pound insurgent weapon trading scam across Middle East locales, he busts her out of jail and they go on the run (which sees them end up in New Orleans) in a attempt to clear their names (when Reacher also then gets accused of murder, twice) – with a deadly assassin known as ‘The Hunter’ (Patrick Heusinger) on their tail.
To complicate matters further, a former colleague of Reacher’s has filed a paternity suit against him claiming 15-year-old Samantha Dayton (Danika Yarosh) is his biological daughter, and the duo must then protect her when she gets put in the crosshairs of the crooked corporation who are looking to cover their tracks.
And while this lacks the entertaining action set-pieces and the more slick and humorously scripted likeability of the first outing, it just about comes together to provide an action-thriller that is probably a cut above average genre fare – mainly due to Cruise’s A-list charm and the noteworthy support of co-stars Smulders and Heusinger.
That is somewhat offset by Yarosh initially being rather annoying as Reacher’s potential offspring, but even she seems to pull it round by the end, despite the film not really benefitting from this sub-plot – which proves to be more of a hindrance than a help.
Cruise might never be able to get over the stigma attached to his lack of height compared to Lee Child’s six-foot-plus Reacher from his much-loved novels – but there’s much to enjoy with another serviceable turn by ‘The Cruiser’ who continues to show why he’s still one of Hollywood’s best.
Gavin Miller[youtube id=”aRwrdbcAh2s” width=”600″ height=”350″]
Cast: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Patrick Heusinger, Danika Yarosh, Aldis Hodge, Holt McCallany, Robert Catrini, Madalyn Horcher, Robert Knepper & Jason Douglas
Running Time: 1 Hr 58 Mins
Director: Edward Zwick
Visit www.showcasecinemas.co.uk for the latest up-to-date showtimes for movies at Peterborough Showcase. You can also join the chat on Twitter @showcasecinemas or on Facebook by searching for ‘Showcase Cinemas UK’.