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Jack Reacher: Never Go Back 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD Review

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016) movie poster Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Theatrical Release: October 21, 2016 / Running Time: 118 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: Edward Zwick / Writers: Richard Wenk, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz (screenplay); Lee Child (book Never Go Back)

Cast: Tom Cruise (Jack Reacher), Cobie Smulders (Major Susan Turner), Aldis Hodge (Lt. Espin), Danika Yarosh (Samantha Dayton), Patrick Heusinger (The Hunter), Holt McCallany (Colonel Morgan), Robert Catrini (Colonel Moorcroft), Jason Douglas (Sheriff), Robert Knepper (General Harkness)

Buy Jack Reacher: Never Go Back from Amazon.com:
4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD • Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD • DVD • Instant Video

Tom Cruise has had many critical and commercial successes over the years, but for the most part, he has resisted making sequels out of his hits. The one exception is Mission: Impossible. Cruise's enduring success in what has become his flagship franchise
with five films over the past twenty years seems to have warmed him to the notion of sequels, at least in the action genre. A follow-up to 2014's Edge of Tomorrow recently found its writers. But long before that materializes, here is Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, a sequel to Cruise's Christmas 2012 vehicle.

Adapted from the ninth of twenty and counting novels in Lee Child's series, the first Jack Reacher was an above-average affair. It received mildly favorable reviews and showed enough legs to eventually be deemed profitable with $218 million worldwide earnings on a modest $60 million budget. People seemed to have liked, not loved Jack Reacher, eventually accepting the diminutive, brunette Cruise portraying a character who was 6'5" and blonde in the books. But Cruise, who has nimbly maintained some appeal despite all his mid-Noughties weirdness, has reprised the hero in a sequel adapted from Child's 18th Reacher novel.

Halloween or not, Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) takes a pressing phone call on New Orleans' bustling Bourbon Street in "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back", also known as "A Jack Reacher Halloween."

We open with Reacher being Reacher. The ex-Military Police Major is about to be arrested in a diner, following an unseen 1-on-4 street brawl from which he calmly prevailed with a few scratches when a payphone rings and instead it is the sheriff who is to be arrested.

When Major Susan Turner (Colbie Smulders), a colleague at his former workplace with whom he is friendly, gets arrested for espionage, Reacher becomes interested in clearing her name. Reacher's interest in the case breeds concern from Turner's replacement (Holt McCallany) and her military attorney (Robert Catrini), who has been instructed to keep him at bay. When the attorney turns up murdered, Reacher is about to be charged. Instead, he breaks free and then breaks Turner out of prison, setting the two off on an adventure to clear both of their names and uncover conspiracy within the military.

In addition, Reacher, who has been commissioned back to his military Major status against his will, discovers the existence of Samantha Dayton (Danika Yarosh), a streetwise 15-year-old girl who may be his daughter, if her former prostitute mother's claims are accurate.

Reacher, Turner, and the teenage girl head to New Orleans, where Halloween festivities are under way. They are tailed by a persistent assassin (Patrick Heusinger) determined to wipe them out.

Cobie Smulders of television's "How I Met Your Mother" is asked to replace Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, Richard Jenkins, David Oyelowo, Werner Herzog and others as Tom Cruise's only co-star of note in "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back."

While Jack Reacher wound up being above average, Never Go Back is at best the definition of "average." The $96 million budget is a puzzling, significant step up from the first film, which wasn't popular enough to justify going bigger. And the increased budget hasn't been spent in obvious ways. Gone are the exciting supporting cast members of the original film including Rosamund Pike,
David Oyelowo, Richard Jenkins, Robert Duvall, and Werner Herzog. In their place are no one particularly noteworthy or commendable. Smulders is fine, essentially reprising her no-nonsense S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill from Marvel's Avengers movies and television shows. The rest of the cast would probably still be involved if this was being made for TNT with a more text-befitting Anthony Michael Hall in the title role.

And Cruise, whose longevity as leading man already places him in rarified air in cinema history, doesn't seem particularly interested or inspired here. Sure, he throws punches, performs his signature run, and shows off a torso most 54-year-old men would love to have. But this sequel lacks the breathtaking Mission stunts, the artistry that defined his late '80s and '90s work, and even the flair you expect of a relatively big budgeted studio popcorn movie.

Taking over directing duties from Christopher McQuarrie and also sharing screenplay credit, Edward Zwick (The Last Samurai, Blood Diamond) does little to revive a résumé that has been on a downslide for some time.

Calling it A Jack Reacher Halloween would have tied this movie to the autumnal holiday its opening narrowly preceded. Instead, this generically subtitled sequel opened in second place at the box office behind the more seasonal Tyler Perry's Boo! A Madea Halloween, a much cheaper comedy it never came close to catching domestically. Never Go Back ended up grossing just $59 million domestic and $161 M worldwide, making it the worst-performing movie sold on Cruise's name pretty much ever.

With the series no doubt finished on screen, Paramount brings Never Go Back to stores this week, again across from A Madea Halloween, in a DVD, a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack, and the 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD set reviewed here.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Blu-ray Disc cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com 4K Ultra HD & Blu-ray Disc Details

2.40:1 Widescreen
Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Descriptive Video Service)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (BD-66 & BD-50)
Suggested Retail Price: $49.99
Also available as Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD ($39.99 SRP), DVD ($29.99 SRP), and Amazon Instant Video
Black Keepcase in Embossed Cardboard Slipcover

VIDEO and AUDIO

Whether you're watching it in 4K or just Blu-ray, Paramount's home video presentation of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is the definition of perfect. The 2.40:1 picture is sharp, well-defined, and without even minor issues. The soundtrack -- a Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 mix -- also delights with immersive action sounds and score.

Tom Cruise makes a dramatic entrance to the Jack Reacher 2 set to his great enjoyment. Danika Yarosh is clearly excited to be playing a character who could be Jack Reacher's daughter.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is accompanied by a host of bonus features, but only on Blu-ray Disc. (The 4K disc devotes its space entirely to the ultra high definition feature presentation.
And the DVD, not included here but joining the Blu-ray in the better-selling combo pack, is barebones like most Paramount DVDs have been for a while.)

First of the six HD featurettes is "Reacher Returns" (11:31), which focuses on the hero, choosing a book to adapt for this sequel, and the story told.

"An Unexpected Family" (14:31) considers Reacher's relationships with Major Susan Turner and the teenage girl who may be his daughter.

"Relentless: On Location in Louisiana" (25:46) is the most general making-of piece, celebrating Cruise and the action stunts of this production.

"Take Your Revenge First: Lethal Combat" (12:42) delves further into action, specifically fight training. Any interest you had in the film's making is sure to be waning by now.

We get a behind-the-scenes look at the rooftop battle in "No Quarter Given." Longtime film set still photographer David James gets his moment in the spotlight in "Reacher in Focus."

"No Quarter Given: Rooftop Battle" (8:13) breaks down the action climax because you know you just needed to know how that was filmed.

Finally, "Reacher in Focus: With Tom Cruise and Photographer David James" (8:33) stands out a bit in a good way, with James sharing his still photos from production
and discussing the work he's done for over 50 years (including many a Tom Cruise film). Footage from the set shows the Jack Reacher cast and crew celebrating James' 75th birthday.

The static menu adapts poster artwork. The discs open with some streamed timely trailers (currently for Allied), but as usual had difficulty playing that all the way through.

The black 4K disc and blue Blu-ray share a black keepcase with a Digital HD insert. Topping the case is a sleek, embossed slipcover reproducing the same artwork below.

After the box office disappointments of this sequel, it is safe to say that Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) will Never Go Back to the big screen.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

While there was nothing inherently wrong with making a Jack Reacher sequel, Never Go Back is so average and uninspired that you wonder why they bothered. With Tom Cruise phoning it in, his previous supporting cast all replaced with unremarkable talent, and the plot generating minimal thrills, this is a movie that will only excite someone who has never seen a movie before. It's not bad enough to be good, but it's not quite good enough not to be bad. Such mediocrity neither demands nor rewards two hours.

Paramount's 4K edition earns the highest marks for picture and sound. Its making-of featurettes are substantial, if rather uninteresting. Still, the movie is a rental at best and only then for fans of Cruise and Reacher who aren't expecting much.

Buy Jack Reacher: Never Go Back from Amazon.com:
4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD / Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD / DVD / Instant Video

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Related Reviews:
New to Disc: Inferno • The Girl on the Train • Masterminds • Queen of Katwe • The Handmaiden
Tom Cruise: Jack Reacher • Edge of Tomorrow • Oblivion • Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation • Vanilla Sky • Top Gun • Knight and Day
Colbie Smulders: Delivery Man • Avengers: Age of Ultron • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Directed by Edward Zwick: Pawn Sacrifice | Written by Richard Wenk: The Equalizer • The Magnificent Seven • The Mechanic
Pay the Ghost • The Nice Guys • Now You See Me 2

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Reviewed January 30, 2017.



Text copyright 2017 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2016 Paramount Pictures, Skydance Productions, Mutual Film Company, and Tom Cruise Productions, 2017 Paramount Home Entertainment.
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