Wednesday, February 1, 2017

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

Reviewed by Sean Ferguson
Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) returns to enforce his bold brand of justice in the action-packed sequel based on author Lee Child’s best-selling series. When Army Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) is framed for treason, Reacher discovers she’s the target of a massive government conspiracy. With help from Turner and a mysterious new ally, Reacher risks everything to take down a powerful organization that will stop at nothing to protect its secrets.

Film (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
When Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) is arrested, her predecessor Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) decides to look into it. Turner has been accused of the deaths of two military personnel. Everyone, including her appointed lawyer believe she is guilty except for Reacher who starts to dig deeper which also gets him arrested. Convinced that there is a cover up going on, Reacher escapes from custody and also frees Turner and they go on the run.  

Reacher also discovers that he was under investigation as part of a paternity suit that involved a fifteen year old girl named Samantha (Danika Yarosh) who is now also a target by those chasing Reacher and Turner. The three of them are forced to evade the government agents (both honest and corrupt) while trying to uncover the conspiracy and Reacher's true relationship to Samantha.

I liked the first Jack Reacher movie as it was a nice change of pace for Tom Cruise that was different and fun. I would still prefer to see his Mission Impossible films, but I still enjoyed them. This film, however does not have a particularly fleshed out and interesting story. I think the first film did a better job story-wise than Never Go Back did. The pace for this movie is also uneven and there are a lot of slow sections that are intercut with some brief action scenes. Granted, the action scenes are all excellent and well choreographed, but the film as a whole didn't come together as it should have.

As this series is based on Lee Child's bestsellers, you'd think that they would have a ton of stories to choose from to adapt, but this wasn't the one they should have picked. To be fair, the book that it's based on may have a much better story and scenes than were in the movie, but I'm reviewing the movie. I was surprised to find out that Edward Zwick directed this movie as he can usually be counted on to deliver the drama and the action like he's done before in movies like Glory and The Last Samurai.

This film feels like it was just a job for him as it's a pretty basic paint by numbers exercise. The only twist to the usual formula is that Cobie Smulder's character isn't just in the movie to be rescued by Tom Cruise. The cast are all fine in their roles with Cruise convincingly delivering the action as he always does and Smulders also does well in a more fleshed out role than you'd expect. I enjoyed Never Go Back, but I'd recommend the first film over this one or even better the Mission Impossible series. 
Video (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
This 4K Ultra HD transfer looks very good and it's even better than the excellent Blu-ray presentation as well. The UHD offers more detail and a higher level of sharpness as well as more defined and vibrant colors. Details such as textures from clothing and facial features are very evident in this version. Both versions of the film look great, but I'd take the UHD version as my choice. 
Audio (5 out of 5 stars)
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back's Dolby Atmos mix really delivers as it offers a lot of atmosphere and doesn't hold back during the action sequences. Directionality is accurate and well done and the music is woven throughout without getting overwhelmed by the sound effects.This is a great mix that fans will enjoy.   
Extras (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The Blu-ray included in this set offers a selection of pretty good special features for the film. All of the extras are in high definition.
  • Reacher Returns - Tom Cruise discusses what about this character that he enjoys playing while author Lee Child talk about how the character keeps evolving, and how they choose what book to adapt for the screen and the changes needed to make it work for the medium.
  • An Unexpected Family - A look at the "family" that comes together due to circumstances between Reacher, Samantha, and Turner. 
  • Relentless: On Location In Louisiana - A look behind the scenes at the film's locations and the process of shooting there. This is a pretty in depth extra that I really enjoyed.
  • Take Your Revenge First: Lethal Combat - A look at Reacher's philosophy and how that is translated into his fighting moves. We also see the preparation needed for the fight scenes. 
  • No Quarter Given: Rooftop Battle - A look at the final battle on the rooftop. 
  • Reacher in Focus: With Tom Cruise and Photographer David James - A look into the still photographs taken during production along with a discussion about them. Usually, the still photos are just thrown on the disc so this is the first time I've seen an actual discussion about them which is pretty cool. 
Summary (4 out of 5 stars)
I expected more from this movie than perhaps was fair, but after the fantastic Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, I wanted more thrills than this delivered. I understand that this is a different franchise based on a series of books that is more story oriented, but even that wasn't brought to this film. If this movie had a better plot and was edited better it would have been a lot better. I still enjoyed the film, but it could have been much better overall.

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