When Jack Reacher made his long-awaited cinematic debut in 2012, the initial film was met with mixed reviews, and a little criticism from the die-hard fans, not to mention some major stumbling blocks. The premiere screening of Jack Reacher was indefinitely postponed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting which occurred the day before, and by the time the film started its cinematic run, the reception became a little cooled, if not awkward. Then, there was Tom Cruise playing the hulking titular character — the fans were not pleased and they shouted it from the rooftops, as revealed by many newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times.
However, the film made it through, bringing in a solid box-office of $218.3 million on a $60 million budget. The film was planned as a tentpole for an entire series based on the immensely popular Lee Child books, but due to the above circumstances and a lackluster performance, the series was nearly scrapped altogether. In February 2013, the film surpassed the $200 million mark worldwide, and a sequel was pushed into development ten months later. This week, with the release date mere months away, the first images from Jack Reacher: Never Go Back were released to the public, and it seems Tom Cruise has picked up exactly where he left off.
People produced the first images of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, which sees Tom Cruise return as former military policeman and all-round tough guy, Jack Reacher. The 53-year-old actor has slotted back into the role perfectly, and as the images show, he’s in for a tough ride. During the reveal, director Edward Zwick also opened up about his working relationship with Cruise, a man he last worked with on The Last Samurai.
“I’ve never seen anybody more prepared both physically and mentally than Tom. He’s tireless and unbelievably focused. It’s a pretty boring job to be Tom’s stunt double. He did all of his own stunts. It’s almost a hallmark of what he does. He does every bit of it himself.”
The film was shot in New Orleans, and it follows Reacher as he aids Army Major Susan Turner, who is caught up in a military conspiracy. Cobie Smulders, famous for How I Met Your Mother and her more action-orientated role as Maria Hill in The Avengers movies, steps into the role of Turner, who reluctantly accepts Reacher’s help. Zwick revealed that the actress had fun on set, lived up to her action-heroine status, and had no problem keeping up with Tom Cruise.
“She does it all herself, too. She didn’t use a stunt double.”
The film is based on the novel, Never Go Back, the eighteenth book in the Jack Reacher series. Few plot details have been confirmed aside from the one above, and the location seems to have swapped from Virginia to New Orleans, but the information that has been released confirms the adaptation is somewhat faithful to the source material.
Not only will Reacher be kicking butt in the film, but he’ll be on the run from the law for a sixteen-year-old homicide, one he has no recollection of. All the while, Reacher will try to discover if, in fact, he has fathered a teenage daughter, a revelation issued to him shortly after he returns to his Army base to find Turner, who has been placed into custody. After breaking Turner out, she joins Reacher on the deeply-personal ride to clear his name, which should make for some interesting chemistry between the two leads.
Aside from performing his own stunts, Cruise has a different job this time around. Jack Reacher set up the hard-as-nails character and plucked his personality straight from the novels. Sure, Cruise was shorter in stature than his novel counterpart, but his bristling, simmering version of the character worked. In Never Go Back, new aspects of his character will be on display: how he works with others, how he copes with forming relationships around him, and how he faces overwhelming adversary.
Let’s hope this doesn’t change the character too much; Jack Reacher is famous for having a heart, but also for remaining unnaturally stoic and passive when circumstances require it. If the series is to continue, the fans need to know they can watch the adaptations with little fear of the character changing completely. Remember, Never Go Back was the eighteenth in a series of novels, and the fans had accepted Reacher by that point, so thrusting him into this particular storyline with the second cinematic feature could be a huge risk.
However, with Edward Zwick at the helm, a man famous for producing awe-inspiring characters on the big screen, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back should be in safe hands. Find out when the film is released in theaters on October 21, 2016.
[Image via Paramount Pictures]