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segunda-feira, 31 de outubro de 2016

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back? If only this dreary Tom Cruise franchise had never started - review



Dir: Edward Zwick. Cast: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Danika Yarosh, Aldis Hodge, Patrick Heusinger, Robert Knepper, Holt McCallany, Robert Catrini, Billy Slaughter. 12A, 118 minutes.

There was a time when only the whoppingly successful Tom Cruise vehicles spawned sequels. Now he’s settling for leftovers. 2012’s Lee Child adaptation Jack Reacher scraped $80m at the US box office from its modest $60m budget; but it scored better overseas. So it is that Cruise resurrects one of his silliest, most arbitrary roles, as a former US military policeman with further wrongs to right, goons of overwhelmingly limited height to take down, and a framed colleague (Cobie Smulders) to bust out of jail.
Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Of all the 20 Jack Reacher novels Lee Child has so far published, it feels unfortunate that the one they’ve picked for this immediate film sequel had to be called Never Go Back. Taken as a piece of consumer advice, it prompts the retroactive complaint that its predecessor lacked one. Don’t Even Start?
The first time, chronic tonal confusion made it hard to tell which laughs were even intentional. As if to clear things up, this takes the straighter approach of mainly being drab and stultifying. It clogs up its running time with some of the most forgettable minor characters ever to litter a mainstream action thriller. If you emerge knowing how “General Harkness” or “Colonel Moorcroft” have especially enriched matters, despite wittering on for whole scenes, send a letter to this address.
We’ll give the sequel this much: the two female characters represent a slight advance on poor Rosamund Pike in the original, who had to simulate shock and awe at the most elementary of plot points. Smulders, who could pass as Cruise’s daughter or much younger sister, is mainly a victim of styling: her leather jacket, blue jeans and tied-back brunette hair scream “tough female sidekick in a PlayStation horror game”. At least she outdoes Cruise in likability, which isn’t saying much – I muttered agreement on several occasions when her character describes Reacher as a rude, four-letter portion of the male anatomy.
Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Tom Cruise and Cobie Smulders in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Under surveillance by a whole range of shifty army bozos who want him dead, Jack keeps saying “I don’t like being followed”, as if most normal folk out there would claim the opposite. He has many more openly annoying habits. The film backs up how impressive he’s meant to be, but only through its incompetence. When Jack beats two guys unconscious on a busy passenger plane, no one else bats an eyelid. Perhaps he’s meant to have sedated the whole cabin with Rohypnol before boarding, and they just forgot to let us know.
Taking a turn at the wheel is Cruise’s old Last Samurai helmsman Edward Zwick, who drives it straight into a boggy mudflat. As a thriller, it’s lethargically paced, uninspiringly edited, and hardly raises your pulse even during life-or-death mano-a-mano. Cruise never cracks a smile, and his grim intensity in this role remains both studied and utterly unmysterious. He’s never looked like he’s having less fun, even when he was dying constantly in Edge of Tomorrow. How underrated that film starts to look, when the edge of your own seat is this distant a continent.

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