Jack Reacher: Never Go Back movie full length review - Slowly builds up to a great movie, but doesn't rise over the first of the series.
While I enjoyed most of 'Jack Reacher: Never Go Back' as a sequel to a very thrilling, action film 'Jack Reacher', there were parts that I didn't enjoy, mainly in the second act of the film.
The film starts off with Jack sitting in a restaurant, after just finishing off four guys in a fight outside. The police officers approach him and proceed to arrest him. Jack then tells the officers that a phone will ring, and that the cops will be coming to arrest the police officer that has just arrested Jack, and so that is what happens. While this was a funny scene to watch, I couldn't shake off the fact of how Jack knew about all of this, without explaining to us (the audience) how. Though, later through this scene, we do find out that Jack had been planning this with someone else and everything was explained. My problem with this though is that, while everything was explained later in the scene, the same trend carried on throughout the second act of the film, although a lot of things were left unexplained.
During the second act, Jack has already encountered his thought-to-be daughter, Samantha, and has to protect her from an agent trying to kill Jack, and now also Samantha. The main thing that put me off during this act, was all the coincidental perfect timings, and all the odd choices that were made. There were a lot of times in the beginning of the film where I felt that, what they were doing looked a bit odd and maybe forced. There is a scene where Jack and Susan are running from the agent, and they a running for a bus to catch. Just seeing Jack and Susan run through the middle of the streets and into the open grass outside the Whitehouse didn't look all that convincing and "real" and seemed very out of place. It was just a strange sight and didn't really work all that well.
Later on, Jack and Susan are forced to enter the kitchen area of a restaurant, as the agent has blocked any other way of escaping. There is a fight scene in the kitchen, but just before the fight starts, Jack is hiding behind a pantry, while the agent is lurking through the kitchen. I just couldn't help but be a little bit angry at how the agent could not see Jack. There was close to nothing on the pantry, so it wasn't like Jack had a lot of cover, yet the agent could not see him, even when he looked directly in Jack's direction.
There was also a scene where Jack and Susan had to escape the prison. They leave in the back of a food truck, of which the police follow and stop in the middle of the street. The food truck is surrounded by the police, all aiming at the truck, no one taking their eyes off of it. Then all of a sudden, a police car races off from the back, with Jack and Susan driving. There was no possible way they could've gotten out of that truck and into the car without a police officer seeing. This brings me back to the un-explained sequences of this film. There is a scene where Jack and Susan enter someone's house to get a hold of some files. Although, the man's house they enter, is the man they are trying to stay away from. Once they get what they need, we cut to the next scene, and no explanation is shown to how they got out of there, while making sure the "bad guy" wasn't trying to follow them. The scene was too big and had too much going on to just cut away from. It just seemed to simple and easy and felt like a cheap way out.
Although, while through the first and second act, I was thinking of rating this movie a 5/10, I changed my mind to a 7 once I saw the third and final act. The final action scene of which the second act had been leading up to, was flawless. The tension definitely built up during this act, as the agent had now threatened to kill Samantha, as well as Jack. Jack goes through a great deal of fighting through groups of enemies, on his way to encountering the agent, of whom is now holding Samantha over the edge of a building. Jack shows how much he cares for Samantha, as he throws himself into the agent, and off the building, onto the ground below. They go through a slightly awkward, yet "on-the-edge-of-your-seat" fight to the death. Jack ends the fight with doing what he said earlier on the phone, that he would break the agents arms, then his legs, then his neck, and concludes the fight with throwing him off the ledge. Yet, this was a very similar ending to the first film, as Jack said almost the same thing, and did the same thing to his enemy then.
So, while the film started out a little strange and off-putting, it all un-raveled into a great finale. The film is a good sequel, yet doesn't quite live up to the thrill-ride of its predecessor, 'Jack Reacher'. I feel that this film followed a bad trend that is rising in action movie sequels, where the main character is attempted to be given a much deeper persona, while also trying to be the same person from the first film, yet it comes out in a very odd, strange blend of who we knew from the first film, and who this new identification is. It was troubling to have to accept this new introduction to the main character, when we have already been identified with him from the first film.