If The Story of Your Life was the highlight of Paramount's flat-footed CinemaCon presentation, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back was a fine supporting player. A double, in baseball terminology. After a weirdly rambling and unfocused video introduction by Tom Cruise from the set of The Mummy the footage began strong:
Cops respond to a incident at a diner. Four dudes are laying in the parking lot, all beat up and moaning. Inside the diner we see a lone figure sitting at the counter. It's Jack Reacher. The cops come in, weapons drawn and Jack Reacher says:
"Two things are going to happen in the next 90 seconds. That phone is going to ring and you'll be wearing handcuffs on your way to prison."
"That's one magnificent prophecy, Mr. Reacher," says one of the cops... and then the phone rings.
The ringing of the phone plays over various action shots - a car chase, Cruise jumping off a roof onto a guy and taking his machine gun and shooting some dudes offscreen, Cobie Smulders in a jail cell and then getting broken out, Smulders beating the shit out of a military dude with a baton.
Then it's Smulders and Cruise in a car, looking bruised and bloody.
"Now I'm a fugitive from justice," she says.
"And a traitor to your country," Reacher replies.
"Why do I think you're enjoying this?" she snaps back.
It looked... fine. Without a sense of the story the action looked like standard mid-budget stuff. I really enjoyed Jack Reacher and I hope the unexpected sequel delivers the same pleasures, which is what this footage basically promised. This could be the next great movie to watch on cable TV.