I am a big, unapologetic fan of 2012's Jack Reacher, and the shrugging reviews I've seen of its new follow-up, Never Go Back, insult the original with their baffling assertion the new one is just as good. It's not remotely as good. The crispness of the action stuff, the weird jokes, the superb supporting players; the new one has none of that. Cobie Smulders is great, but she's not exactly underexposed like Reacher's deep bench—Richard Jenkins and David Oyelowo and Jai Courtney and Werner goddamn Herzog—was in 2012. We did not know then how ubiquitous Courtney would become in shitty sequels to 80s classics. Or that Rosamund Pike's stock would rise so fast with Gone Girl.
Anyway, here's my NPR review of the disappointing Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Read it, and then cheer yourself up by watching Jack Reacher's A+ bar fight for the hundredth time.
The Mission: Impossible film series is 19, long enough in the tooth for its earlier installments to start to acquire the same time capsule effect that makes me love even the worst James Bond movies. I watched Brian De Palma's 1996 Mission: Impossible the night after I saw the new one, subtitled Rogue Nation, and John Woo's barely-related 2000 M:I-2, the night after that. Yep, blockbusters are different now.
Trying to articulate just how was part of the chore of writing my NPR review of the fifth impossible mission, from Jack Reacher writer/director Christopher McQuarrie. Short version: I liked it. But I had more thoughts about it than I could shoehorn into the review, so here're a few outtakes.