Tom Cruise has a handful of franchises under his belt, including that of Jack Reacher: a movie series series based on Lee Child’s pulpy crime/thriller novels about the hard-edged former military policeman of the same name. The first Jack Reacher film was a modest box office success by Cruise’s standards ($218 million worldwide), but its relatively lean $60 million budget and positive reception from critics and general moviegoers alike convinced Paramount Pictures to move forward with a sequel, titled Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.
Never Go Back takes its name from Child’s 18th Jack Reacher novel (published in 2013, after the first Jack Reacher movie had been released) and follows Jack on an adventure where he attempts to clear the name of an army major – with assistance from a young woman who may (or may not) share a history with Reacher. Agent Maria Hill herself (or, if you prefer, How I Met Your Mother alum), Cobie Smulders is playing the major who Reacher helps after she is accused of being a spy, while Danika Yarosh (Heroes Reborn) is the young lady whose presence forces Reacher to deal with “deep-rooted personal issues of his own,” as a new article puts it.
The article in question is from People and includes the first official images from the upcoming Jack Reacher sequel, featuring Cruise, Smulders, and Jason Douglas (seen recently as Tobin on The Walking Dead) as a member of the local law enforcement. Never Go Back was also directed by Edward Zwick: the Oscar-winning filmmaker who previously collaborated with Cruise on The Last Samurai and who co-scripted Never Go Back with his writing partner, Marshall Herskovitz (drawing from an earlier script draft penned by The Equalizer screenwriter Richard Wenk). You can check out those Never Go Back photos from the film’s New Orleans shoot, below.
Cruis is quite well-known for performing most of his own stunts in his movies, even those that require him to stare death in the face (case in point: his infamous plane-hanging stunt for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation). Zwick assured People that this was also the case with the Jack Reacher sequel, while also praising Smulders for her own stunt work on the film:
“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. [Cobie Smulders] does it all herself, too. She didn’t use a stunt double.”
Where the Mission: Impossible franchise puts Cruise through the motions of carrying out extravagant stunts for larger than life action sequences and set pieces, the first Jack Reacher and, presumably, Never Go Back call upon Cruise to perform more grounded, yet nonetheless challenging physical stunts and actions. Most critics and moviegoers enjoyed the change of pace afforded by the first Jack Reacher from Cruise’s other films too, given its comparatively leaner (and meaner) design.
Cruise’s other genre movie offerings tend to sell more tickets by comparison, which is why a franchise installment such as Mission: Impossible 6 is moving faster through pre-production than Never Go Back did (and why Cruise’s upcoming film slate includes more big-budget titles like The Mummy that mid-range movies on the level with Jack Reacher). Still, there should be a respectably-sized audience waiting for Cruise as Reacher’s return to the big screen, four years after his debut. The first Jack Reacher combines crime/mystery elements with Cruise playing a type of modern cowboy that stands well apart from his other roles, and Never Go Back ought to have a similar vibe to it – meaning, it ought to stand out as a more unique addition to Cruise’s most recent action/thriller film work.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back opens in U.S. theaters on October 21st, 2016.