Jack Reacher: Never Go back (take a cue from the title and don’t ever go back to it)
During the 90’s, a sure shot way to figure out a wannabe was to ask a simple question involving the identity of their favorite Hollywood actor. The acid test usually yielded a cringe worthy Tom Cruise or a Brad Pitt. Every now and then you also get a wise-ass girl pseudo-retorting with an, ‘Apnay aap ko Tom Cruise samajhtay ho kya?’ (Do you think you’re Tom Cruise?) type of lousy comeback line. Even then I would be all ‘heck no! I’d rather frikkin be a Bobby De Niro than the overrated Cruise’.
Don’t get me wrong I am still a big fan of a couple of his flicks, Eyes Wide Shut and Magnolia to name a couple. But me being impressed had more to do with the directorial wizardry of Stanley Kubrick and Paul Thomas Anderson than anything that Nicole Kidman’s ex had to offer.
And you know what? Tommy boy still hasn’t changed one bit. Unfortunately for Tom Cruise, he is no longer Hollywood’s Golden Boy and audience and critics wouldn’t go easy on him for his latest drab as they would have in the past.
Now, before we actually delve into the matter of critically deconstructing Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, how about I put this on record that despite Cruise’s (now waning) box-office pull, he arguably was the worst choice to play the titular character. Tom Cruise has absolutely nothing in common physically with author Lee Child’s crime-solving ex-military drifter. The 54-year-old at 5’6 is infamously a foot shorter than Reacher. So you automatically take out the one group – the die-hard fans of the book series –that probably could have turned out to be your cinematic saviour. All that’s left for Tom Cruise to exert his charms is the response from pretentious middle aged aunties, who are still stuck with misguided nostalgia.
So anyway, the sequel of Cruise’s B grade Mission: Impossible franchise, the series he acts in while he’s killing time kicks off with him heading back to Virginia to finally meet Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders), the army major who replaces Reacher. He finds that she’s been arrested for espionage, and being the protagonist, our hero sets out to save the day to prove her innocence – it helps that she is conventionally beautiful too – whilst kicking the back sides of the baddies. Also, in a totally unnecessary subplot meant to humanise a character that isn’t particularly human in the first place, we meet a teenage girl (Danika Yarosh) who may or may not be Reacher’s daughter. She exists mostly to be captured so that Reacher can save her. These three are thrust together by necessity, and must contend with a series of bad guys to prolong the dreary narrative along with our collective miseries.
I don’t know if you have come across an extended supercut of ‘Tom Cruise running in all of his movies’ video hitting the social media in the past week or so.
Seen together, all of them seem like an aimless runabout. But I am fairly certain, as repetitive as it may seem, most of the clips would have had a context in the grand scheme of their respective movie plots. Jack Reacher on the other hand, even without the excuse of being a complete film, is exactly like the comically long viral video, ie, Tom Cruise darting and dashing around for no reason whatsoever.
For the last decade and a half, Cruise has been desperately clinging onto whatever youth he has left, playing the action hero in so many big studio productions, it’s difficult to keep track.
It’s high time he takes a cue from the title of his latest offering and never goes back to the increasingly tedious genre that he has found himself stuck in and reinvents himself or else even my female acquaintances of yore will have a hard time owning him.
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