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Here's a look at the new movie I saw this week.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Starring: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, and Danika Yarosh
Synopsis: A few years ago, Tom Cruise took the starring role in the film “Jack Reacher.” Based on the novels by Lee Child, the film was about a former Navy cop who investigated crimes on his own and seemed to kick a lot of butt. It was released just days before Christmas in 2012 and probably slipped from most people’s minds. I remember seeing the film, but it didn’t make a huge impression. Yet, nearly four years later, Cruise is back as Reacher in another adaptation from the Child books. And, surprisingly, I thought this was a better, more compelling film. It seemed to fit Cruise’s talents, and it had a nice assembled cast around him. Cruise is great at creating these kind of film properties. One of his most successful has been “Mission Impossible,” which has featured different actors and directors over the past 20 years but remains a bankable film franchise. And that’s largely a credit to Cruise’s work on screen as Ethan Hunt and behind the scenes as a producer for the franchise. He’s done the same thing with Jack Reacher. Though the first film got off to a bit of a slow start, it has the bones of being the kind of film franchise he can revisit every few years and connect with audiences. And like “Mission Impossible,” it’s clear that the series will continue to refine and improve. In “Never Go Back” I liked the supporting cast and I was drawn into the story. Cruise and Smulders worked well on screen together, and Yarosh added a nice dimension as the sassy teen along for the ride. The bad guys weren’t always fully developed or that intimidating, but in some respects it didn’t really matter. This kind of film isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey. And the journey here was enjoyable. The franchise blends action and a detective story, mixing in some humor and character building along the way. Reacher is an affable hero, and Cruise settles into the part nicely. This isn’t an exceptional film, but it’s the kind of film you can enjoy watching to fill a Saturday afternoon, and there’s a place for that.I didn’t think “Never Go Back” was incredible, but it was engaging and entertaining. It was put together well and directed with a steady hand by Edward Zwick, who’s collaborated with Cruise a few times in the past. They have a rapport, and that shows on the screen.  For fans of the genre, or fans of the book series, this will be a movie worth checking out. And for those who have no familiarity with the source material or previous film, this movie is accessible enough to stand on its own.
Rating: PG-1 for sequences of violence and action, some bloody images, language and thematic elements.
Verdict: Three stars out of four.

Upcoming Releases:
Friday, October 28 — "Inferno," "American Pastoral"


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