Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)


Introduction

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is a 2016 American action-thriller film directed by Edward Zwick, written by Zwick, Richard Wenk, and Marshall Herskovitz, and based on the 2013 novel Never Go Back by Lee Child.

A sequel to the 2012 film Jack Reacher, the film stars Tom Cruise and Cobie Smulders, with supporting roles by Patrick Heusinger, Aldis Hodge, Danika Yarosh, Holt McCallany, and Robert Knepper.

The plot follows Reacher going on the run with an Army major who has been framed for espionage, as the two reveal a dark conspiracy.

Refer to 2022 TV Series, Reacher.

Outline

After busting a human trafficking ring on US Army land, drifter and former Army military police officer, Jack Reacher, returns to his old military headquarters to meet Major Susan Turner, holding his former command, with whom he has been working by phone during his travels. He learns from Colonel Sam Morgan that Turner has been accused of espionage and detained.

Turner’s attorney, Colonel Moorcroft, reveals that some evidence shows that Turner is involved in the murders of two soldiers in Afghanistan, but Reacher believes she is being framed. Moorcroft also reveals an old acquaintance of Reacher’s, Candice Dutton, has filed a paternity suit against him, claiming he is the biological father of her 15-year-old daughter, Samantha. Reacher tries to reach out to Samantha, but she rebuffs him.

Moorcroft is later killed by a SOCOM former operator-turned mercenary known as the Hunter, framing Reacher for the murder. Reacher is arrested and transported to the prison where Turner is being detained. When two hitmen arrive, Reacher neutralises them, then escapes with Turner. They go to Morgan’s house, having deduced he is involved in the conspiracy, and extract information. The Hunter, revealed to be working with Morgan, later kills Morgan and again frames Reacher.

Reacher and Turner uncover surveillance pictures of Samantha and surmise she is in danger, arriving at her home to find her foster parents dead and Samantha hiding. The three travel to Turner’s old private school for protection, but discover that Samantha has her mobile phone with her, which the enemy has likely tracked. They make a quick exit, during which Samantha steals credit cards from one of the students.

The trio goes to New Orleans in search of Daniel Prudhomme, the only eyewitness to the murders for which Turner has been framed. En route, Reacher admits to Samantha he might be her father while Samantha reveals that she’s the one who filed the paternity suit in order to gain financial support from him. Reacher and Turner find Prudhomme in a derelict warehouse filled with drug addicts, and learn that Prudhomme is connected to Parasource, a private military organization that is trying to cover up the murders. Reacher contacts Turner’s friend, Captain Anthony Espin, to move Prudhomme into custody, but they are ambushed by assassins and Prudhomme is killed, while Reacher rescues a wounded Espin and finds out that the assassins are Parasource contractors. Parasource’s CEO, General James Harkness, sends the Hunter to capture Samantha after she uses a stolen credit card to purchase food.

Reacher, Turner, and Espin, acting on information from Prudhomme, intercept a shipment of weapons due to enter the country, where they confront Harkness and his men, and accuse them of corruption. Espin finds antitank weapons, though, as declared in the flight manifest. Before Turner can be rearrested, Reacher opens up one of the weapons and dumps out bags of pure opium. They learn that Harkness framed Turner, who had been investigating his activities, for the murders of the two soldiers who had discovered that Harkness was selling weapons to insurgents, then smuggling opium into the United States. Espin and his men arrest Harkness.

The Hunter and his men chase Samantha through the streets of New Orleans to lure Reacher into a confrontation. Turner kills one of the assassins, while Reacher takes out another one. The Hunter captures Samantha on a rooftop, but when Reacher arrives, she manages to escape. Reacher tackles the Hunter and they have a vicious fight, ending with Reacher breaking the Hunter’s arm, leg, and neck, before dumping his body off the rooftop.

Following Harkness’ arrest, Turner is reinstated to her command. Reacher promises to keep in touch, then goes to meet Samantha at a diner. He tells Samantha he will recognize her mother, if he knows her, as he remembers every woman he has slept with. Samantha reveals that the waitress that had been serving him is, in fact, her mother, and that Reacher cannot be her father, as neither had recognized the other. Reacher and Samantha then reluctantly part.

As Reacher is walking along a road, he is surprised when a phone Samantha had slipped into his pocket rings. He finds a text message from her reading, “Miss me yet?”. Reacher smiles as he sticks out his thumb to hitch a ride.

Cast

  • Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher, a former US Army Military Police Officer.
  • Cobie Smulders as Major Susan Turner.
  • Aldis Hodge as Captain Espin.
  • Danika Yarosh as Samantha, Jack Reacher’s assumed biological daughter.
  • Jessica Stroup as Lieutenant Sullivan.
  • Patrick Heusinger as The Hunter.
  • Holt McCallany as Colonel Sam Morgan.
  • Robert Knepper as General James Harkness.
  • Madalyn Horcher as Sergeant Leach.
  • Robert Catrini as Colonel Moorcroft.
  • Austin Hébert as Daniel Prudhomme.
  • Jason Douglas as Raymond Wood, Sheriff of Keewah County.
  • In addition, Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher novel series, makes a brief appearance as a TSA agent.

Production

While Jack Reacher was intended to be a tent-pole for a film series, a sequel was initially reported to be unlikely due to its lacklustre run at the North American box office. In February 2013, a sequel became more likely after the film surpassed a gross of $200 million worldwide. On 09 December 2013, Paramount Pictures and Skydance Media announced they were moving forward with the development of a second film, reportedly based on the 2013 Jack Reacher novel Never Go Back. On 14 May 2014, Tom Cruise was reported to be reprising his role as Jack Reacher.

On 19 May 2015, Deadline reported that Edward Zwick would reteam with Cruise, and direct the film. Zwick wrote the script along with Marshall Herskovitz and Richard Wenk. Zwick and Cruise had previously worked together on The Last Samurai (2003). On 14 August 2015, Cobie Smulders was added to the cast to play the female lead. On 15 September, Danika Yarosh signed on to star in the film, on 17 September, Aldis Hodge was added to the cast, and on 22 September, Patrick Heusinger was cast in the villain role. On 20 October, Holt McCallany joined the film, as did Austin Hebert. On 12 November 2015, Robert Catrini joined, and on 20 January 2016, Robert Knepper was cast as General Harkness, a retired general, and CEO of a private military firm.

Principal photography on the film began on 20 October 2015, in New Orleans, Louisiana. On 23 November 2015, filming took place in Baton Rouge, and in January 2016, filming also took place in St. Francisville. Filming wrapped on 30 January 2016.

Henry Jackman composed the film’s music, making this Zwick’s first film since Blood Diamond (2006) not to be scored by James Newton Howard.

Release

Theatrical Release

On 14 June 2016, Entertainment Weekly premiered a preview of the first trailer, with Cobie Smulders introducing the footage. The official Jack Reacher Twitter account announced that a full trailer would be released on 22 June 2016. A browser game, titled Jack Reacher: Never Stop Punching, was also released to promote the film.

In September 2015, Paramount set Jack Reacher: Never Go Back a release date of 21 October 2016.

Box Office

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back grossed $58.7 million in the United States and Canada, and $103.4 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $162.1 million, against a production budget of $96 million.

In the United States and Canada, the film opened alongside Ouija: Origin of Evil, Keeping Up with the Joneses, and Boo! A Madea Halloween, and was projected to gross around $20 million from 3,780 theatres in its opening weekend, with the studio expecting a debut of about $17 million. It earned $1.3 million in midnight showings at 1,850 theatres, slightly above Oblivion’s $1.1 million and under Edge of Tomorrow’s $1.8 million. For the weekend, the film opened to $23 million, finishing in second place, behind Boo! A Madea Halloween. In its second weekend, the film dropped by 58.2%, grossing $9.6 million, and finishing third at the box office, behind A Madea Halloween ($16.7 million) and newcomer Inferno ($15 million).

Outside North America, the film was released in 42 countries in conjunction with its United States and Canada debut, representing about 75% of the film’s total marketplace internationally. In 30 of those markets, the film posted a bigger opening than the first Reacher film, and posted the top movie openings of the week in the United Kingdom and Ireland ($3.3 million), France ($2.8 million), Australia ($2 million), Russia ($2 million), Indonesia ($1.9 million), Taiwan ($1.6 million), and the United Arab Emirates ($1.3 million).

Home Media

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back was released on digital HD on 17 January 2017, and on Blu-ray, Ultra HD Blu-ray, and DVD on 31 January 2017.

By May 2018, the film had made $14.5 million in domestic region video sales.

Future

Following the mixed critical reception to Never Go Back, plans for a third instalment were delayed, while a reboot in the form of an Amazon Prime exclusive television series was announced. In July 2020, Christopher McQuarrie stated that Cruise and he had been working on developments for additional movies featuring the titular character. Plans for the third film included darker themes, with intentions for the future movies in the series to be R-rated. The filmmaker further acknowledged the possibility for a return to the series at a later date, stating that the “franchise has moved on…we haven’t.”

Trivia

  • Cobie Smulders performed all of her own stunts in this movie.
  • Cobie Smulders spent eight weeks training in various martial arts to prepare for her role in this film.
  • The shirt Jack Reacher wears in the first diner scene is the same shirt he wears throughout the first Jack Reacher (2012) movie.
  • The diner in the opening scene is located right next door to the gas station that Billy Bob Thornton bought in Monsters Ball.
    • It is located on Airline Hwy. in Laplace, La.
  • Tom Cruise drives the 4-door variant of the faux-wood panelled 2-door Plymouth Voyager he drove in War of the Worlds (2005).

Jack Reacher Series

You can find a full index and overview of the Jack Reacher films and TV series here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
    • Edward Zwick.
  • Producer(s):
    • Tom Cruise … producer (produced by).
    • David Ellison … executive producer.
    • Herbert W. Gains … executive producer.
    • Dana Goldberg … executive producer.
    • Don Granger … producer.
    • Christopher McQuarrie … producer.
    • Kevin J. Messick … co-producer (as Kevin Messick).
    • Paula Wagner … executive producer.
  • Writer(s):
    • Richard Wenk … (screenplay).
    • Edward Zwick … (screenplay).
    • Marshall Herskovitz … (screenplay).
    • Lee Child … (book).
  • Music:
    • Henry Jackman.
  • Cinematography:
    • Oliver Wood … director of photography.
  • Editor(s):
    • Billy Weber.
  • Production:
    • Paramount Pictures (presents).
    • Skydance Media (presents).
    • Dream Cars.
    • Huahua Media (in association with).
    • S&C Pictures.
    • Shanghai Film Group (in association with).
    • TC Productions.
  • Distributor(s):
    • Andes Films (2016) (Chile) (theatrical).
    • B&H Film Distribution (2016) (Ukraine) (theatrical).
    • Central Partnership (2016) (Russia) (theatrical).
    • Columbia Pictures (2016) (Philippines) (theatrical).
    • Constantin-Film (2017) (Austria) (theatrical).
    • Finnkino I (2016) (Finland) (theatrical).
    • NOS Audiovisuais (2016) (Portugal) (theatrical).
    • Paramount Pictures International (2016) (Argentina) (theatrical) (through United International Pictures).
    • Paramount Pictures (2016) (Australia) (theatrical).
    • Paramount Pictures (2016) (Brazil) (theatrical).
    • Paramount Pictures (2016) (France) (theatrical).
    • Paramount Pictures (2016) (Germany) (theatrical).
    • Paramount Pictures (2016) (Italy) (theatrical).
    • Paramount Pictures (2016) (Mexico) (theatrical).
    • Paramount Pictures (2016) (Spain) (theatrical).
    • Paramount Pictures (2016) (UK) (theatrical).
    • Paramount Pictures (2016) (USA) (theatrical).
    • Sony Pictures Releasing (2016) (Belgium) (theatrical).
    • Towa Pictures (2016) (Japan) (theatrical).
    • United International Pictures (UIP) (2016) (Argentina) (theatrical) (through).
    • United International Pictures (UIP) (2016) (Greece) (theatrical).
    • United International Pictures (UIP) (2016) (Hungary) (theatrical).
    • United International Pictures (UIP) (2016) (Malaysia) (theatrical).
    • United International Pictures (UIP) (2016) (Norway) (theatrical).
    • United International Pictures (UIP) (2016) (Poland) (theatrical).
    • United International Pictures (UIP) (2016) (Sweden) (theatrical).
    • United International Pictures (UIP) (2016) (Turkey) (theatrical).
    • Universal Pictures International (UPI) (2016) (Netherlands) (theatrical).
    • Westec Media Limited (2016) (Cambodia) (theatrical).
    • Film1 (2017) (Netherlands) (TV) (limited).
    • KVH Media Group (2017) (World-wide) (all media) (Ships).
    • Paramount Home Entertainment (2017) (Argentina) (Blu-ray).
    • Paramount Home Entertainment (2017) (Argentina) (DVD).
    • Paramount Home Entertainment (2017) (Argentina) (all media) (Ultra HD Blu-ray).
    • Paramount Home Entertainment (2017) (Germany) (Blu-ray).
    • Paramount Home Entertainment (2017) (Germany) (DVD).
    • Paramount Home Entertainment (2017) (Germany) (all media) (Ultra HD Blu-ray).
    • Paramount Home Entertainment (2017) (UK) (Blu-ray).
    • Paramount Home Entertainment (2017) (UK) (DVD).
    • Paramount Home Entertainment (2017) (UK) (all media) (Ultra HD Blu-ray).
    • Paramount Home Media Distribution (2017) (USA) (Blu-ray).
    • Paramount Home Media Distribution (2017) (USA) (DVD).
    • Paramount Home Media Distribution (2017) (USA) (all media) (Ultra HD Blu-ray).
    • Seven Network (2021) (Australia) (TV).
    • TV3 (2019) (Estonia) (TV).
    • Universal Pictures (2017) (Germany) (DVD) (release through).
    • Veronica (2018) (Netherlands) (TV).
  • Release Date: 12 October 2016 (Premiere, Shanghai) and 16 October 2016 (Premiere, New Orleans, US).
  • Rating: 12A.
  • Running Time: 118 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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