Friday, 21 October 2016

REVIEW: JACK REACHER-NEVER GO BACK

3.5/5

Mission: Unreachable.

118 Minutes. Starring: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Patrick Huesinger, Danika Yarosh, Madalyn Horcher, Aldis Hodge, Holt McCallany & Robert Knepper. Director: Edward Zwick.

Reaching back like you never thought Jack, Tom Cruise is on another Mission. But this time it's not impossible. It's by the birth of a Lee Child book for an action packed, awesome adaptation, bullett richocheting off the pages and into cinemas. And who better to run and run (and RUN!) through the crossfire than Tom Cruise? The 'Top Gun' franchise face really is the top Hollywood star and has been for more than three decades (the big blockbuster that took his career off from the cockpit is 30 years old this year. This writer was one years young...yep! Get ready to feel old, as Tom looks nowhere near that, pushing the middle of middle-age). From 80's fare like 'Cocktail' and 'The Color Of Money'. To Academy graduating Oscar worthy acting classics, 'Rain Man' and 'Born On The Fourth Of July'. Underrated filmography greats sometimes lost in the shuffle like 'Jerry Maguire' and 'Collateral'. To Speilberg science fiction legends in 'Minority Report' and 'War Of The Worlds'. And more future fables in the 'Edge Of Tomorrow' ('Live. Die. Repeat') and 'Oblivion'. Not to mention his fuse running 'Mission Impossible' franchise and 'The Mummy' one he's about to unwrap as production unravels the opposite way. And now reuniting with 'The Last Samurai' director Edward Zwick Cruise adds another in 'Jack Reacher' and the 'Never Go Back' sequel to the meat and potatoes, old-school, 90's golden era Hollywood, American muscle and it's McQueen 'Bullit' homaged, full-throttle car chase of the first hit. Delivered like one hell of a right cross from Tom and his two knuckles. 'Jack Reacher' is back battling with 'Bourne' and 'Bond' (and even Cruise's Hunt) like the 'Jack Ryan' reboot hasn't quite done by the book. In a time between all the Summer season blockbusters and fall Oscar favourites that chapter and verse looks to adapt to the pages of novel film ideas from 'The Girl On The Train' to Tom Hanks' Robert Langdon and Dan Brown's 'Inferno'. But whether July or Christmas, when it becomes to making big blockbusters or formidable franchises work, Cruise is in control.

And as Zwick's first movie with Cruise since that last Samurai opens with a look of the 80's to its credits, it feels like no time has passed since the 'Risky Business' early 'Days Of Thunder' for Cruise. He still storms on the screen no matter the cost to his all stunt performing frame. And they said this diminutive dynamo couldn't play the 21 (this fall) books, six foot three Reacher. But Zwick's soldier who was tall enough to almost literally lose his head in 'Samurai' in a freak stunt accident more than measures up and fits the part...he is the part. Critics with their eyes wide shut who think otherwise when it comes to Reacher are just clutching at short straws. Tom has all of Jack's trades. From the fist to the fury of some machine gunning action, this rapid fire star more than keeps up, he Bolt's up, outrunning them all. Someone should put him in the next 100 meters in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Sure he'll be almost sixty then...but he'll still be dancing. Cruise is a knockout. From peppering bad guys with a salt shaker to being a one man team of airport security. And he's still  bouncing off walls and leaping off buildings like there's no edge or tomorrow. But behind the brilliant bruising bare knuckles is the bare bones of an actor that really knows how to get to the behind bruised rib-cage beating heart of Reacher and the searching soul of Child's collection. More than drifting through the vagabond backstory of a man caught between hitchiking and the ups and downs of an opposable thumb. Showing us the inner conflict of a loner character taking it out on the people that try and put the ones he saves in the same place who might not be as lonely as he first thought. And with a firm grip on his craft this is another reason why no Hollywood blockbuster leading man can top this gun. Not even close. Not even a shot.

But on the left of this guys hip, but more than a sidekick sidearm is the smouldering Cobie Smulders. Rosamund Pike may be 'Gone Girl' like departed David Oyelowo (they're about to go to 'A United Kingdom' together to blur the color-lines at the Oscars), but Cobie's a slam dunk, G.I. No Jane, all-action hero in her damsel in distress first film place. Forget 'How I Met Your Mother', how is this woman not been in films like this sooner? Aside from this Avengers experience in the field as Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Maria Hill. A real life superhero who has stretched across many a Marvel film, but needs to be in more. Hell, give this agent the series. With shades of looking like a young 'Daredevil' and 'The Matrix' actress Carrie-Anne Moss you can't dodge this. She's armed to the true grit teeth. Give her her own action franchise start-up and she'll finally have a holy Trinity. Hell she deserves it! Because she can keep up with Cruise...literally! In a Cap and Falcon, 'Winter Soldier', "on your left" montage of running that makes up so much ground it could track the next Tom Cruise running Supercut on Youtube all by itself. But after this Hollywood movie finally gets it right why does the marketing team have her back to Cruise and us on the promotional poster? If you didn't know she was in this movie you'd have a hard time telling who it was on the billboards. It could be fellow Marvel and 'Thor' Lady Sif star Jaimie Alexander there's that much of a blindspot. Still a couple of complaints aside, paired with rising stars Danika Yarosh and Madalyn Horcher this film is all about breakout talents showing their face in this franchise. Like 'Straight Outta Compton' hit MC Ren's Aldis Hodge or by the hymn sheet villain Patrick Heusinger. But what would a film about an ex-soldier be without some veterans? And the always dependable 'Black Hat' brilliant Holt McCallany and arresting, vile 'Prison Break' villain Robert Knepper afford more in spare change screen time than most big budget leads do in a whole movie. Cinematic director Edward Zwick knows how to work it all in a traditional type Hollywood blockbuster that years and Bond/Bourne like installments from now will still be timeless. And like this right now a hit! Exploding into an actions fireworks of a finale with a shot of Bourbon in New Orleans' French Quarter this Halloween night. Which is no half-measure for this all-American so impossibly 54 it's scary. Now someone try and say they wouldn't go back to this Jack again...nah! Never that! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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