Action Adaptation

'Jack Reacher: Never Go Back' Blu-ray Review: Tom Cruise's latest lacks the adrenaline-fueled thrills, but action fans will still want to revisit it

January 25, 2017Ben MK

It's basically an unspoken rule that any Tom Cruise movie made within the last two decades must feature the actor performing at least one insane, over-the-top stunt. The latest installment in the Jack Reacher series, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, is a bit of an outlier, though. However, it does afford Cruise the opportunity to kick plenty of ass.

A followup to the 2012 franchise-starter, Never Go Back finds Reacher (Cruise) revisiting his old army roots, when he makes contact with a hard-nosed Major named Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders). Not long after, however, Reacher becomes embroiled in a conspiracy involving murder and illegal arms-trading, when agents from a military contractor called Parasource begin hunting him. One hunter in particular (Patrick Heusinger) proves especially tough to shake, and it soon becomes apparent that the only way things will end is with one of them dead.

Along the way, Reacher also makes a potentially life-altering discovery — that he could be the father to a 15-year-old daughter named Samantha Dutton (Danika Yarosh), a street-smart young woman who has no trouble taking care of herself. And while the mystery of whether Samantha is or isn't the offspring of our titular hero is something that director Edward Zwick (The Last Samurai) and his co-writers, Richard Wenk and Marshall Herskovitz, leave till the film's final moments, ultimately, it has little bearing on either the story or the ensuing action sequences.

Speaking of which, the action in Never Go Back is probably the reason for which most moviegoers will opt to watch the film. And if you're a fan of the first Jack Reacher or the Lee Child novel on which the movie is based, then you'll feel right at home with this sequel, which has both Cruise and Smulders laying beat-downs on all manner of opponents. There isn't anything quite as memorable as the first film's old-school car chase sequence, however; so if it's spectacular, set-piece thrills you're after, you're better off sticking with the Mission: Impossible series.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back hits Blu-ray with a stellar 1080p transfer that, for all intents and purposes, kicks ass, making it the perfect complement to the home video release of its predecessor. Once again, the picture quality shines, with robustly defined hues, light to moderate film grain, and no shortage of fine detail, be it in faces, clothing, objects or environments, from the well-worn building facades of historic New Orleans to the clean-cut interiors of U.S. government buildings. Likewise, the film's Dolby Atmos sound mix also makes good on the expectations set forth by the first film, delivering crystal-clear dialogue and music, bolstered by the sounds of speeding cars, police sirens, gunfire, ricocheting bullets, explosions and, of course, oh so many punches.

Paramount's two-disc Blu-ray combo pack includes an iTunes/UltraViolet digital copy, a DVD and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Reacher Returns (11:31) - Director Edward Zwick, Author Lee Child, Tom Cruise and the filmmakers talk about what makes the character of Jack Reacher so intriguing, why this particular Jack Reacher story was chosen to be adapted for the sequel, and what Zwick, Cruise and Child bring to the table.
  • An Unexpected Family (14:31) - A look at, among other things, Reacher's relationship with Turner and with Samantha, Cobie Smulders' and Danika Yarosh's performances, and the character of The Hunter and Patrick Heusinger's portrayal.
  • Relentless: On Location in Louisiana (25:46) - A piece that largely focuses on filming in Louisiana, Baton Rouge and in New Orleans, and having those locations stand it for such places as a government building in Washington, D.C., a small diner in the Midwest, and even the desert of Afghanistan, with a bit about Cruise's involvement as producer, Child's cameo in the film, and the stunts as well.
  • Take Your Revenge First: Lethal Combat (12:42) - A piece about the fighting in the film, from Cruise's prowess as a stunt performer, to Smulders' and Heusinger's training and preparation for the physicality of their roles, to the action choreography.
  • No Quarter Given: Rooftop Battle (8:13) - A look at the filming of the movie's climax in New Orleans' historic French Quarter.
  • Reacher in Focus: With Tom Cruise and Photographer David James (8:33) - James talks about his work as an on-set photographer, working with Cruise and Zwick, and bringing his daughter into the business.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is available from Paramount Home Entertainment as of January 31st, 2017. The Blu-ray features English Dolby Atmos, French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 58 Mins.

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