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

Jack Reacher was one of those rare smart crime thrillers that both entertained and left you at the edge of your seat. None of that can be found in its lackluster sequel, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. So, what went wrong. Well, for one thing, Marshall Herskovitz, Richard Wenk, and Edward Zwick wrote a script that’s almost devoid of any sharp dialogue and contains a jumbled plot which sees our reserved hero babysitting an irritating teenager (seriously). It’s very reminiscent of Suicide Squad’s Joker storyline, where if you completely edit out the character then it still wouldn’t impact the storyline in any way. As pointless as that subplot is, the main storyline doesn’t fare so well either. The military conspiracy that Jack Reacher has to uncover is bland as it is thinly written.

The haphazard plot is further bogged down by Zwick’s lethargic pacing and mediocre action sequences. To be fair, the first act is effective but it quickly loses its momentum once it begins its second act. It’s as if those involved with making Never Go Back conscientiously took everything that audiences liked about Jack Reacher and stripped it away.

Even with weak material, Tom Cruise’s charisma is still on full display. It’s a remarkable thing to see Cruise elevate the dull material with his natural charisma. Cobie Smulders is a good addition despite being a monotonous character. Smulders also doesn’t quite have much chemistry with Cruise despite the strong hints of shipping these two together. Danika Yarosh provides a competent performance despite her irritating and needless character. The villains (Patrick Heusinger and Robert Knepper) are vanilla compared to Werner Herzog’s icy criminal mastermind in the first film. They’re basically given the short shrift this time around.

Overall, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is a garden-variety sequel that does little to develop its characters and emotional relationships. The awesome template that McQuarrie put together in the first film is gone and Never Go Back suffers for it. As much as I want to say that the filmmakers should’ve listened to the title, I do enjoy the character and hope that Jack does come back.

Movie Rating: 2/5 atoms


Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is presented in a 2160P HEVC H.265 encoded video with HDR and a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Because Never Go Back was shot on film in 2K, there is a considerable amount of grain in the video. This gives the film an appealing film-like appearance. The highlights are noticeably brighter and crisper compared to the regular Blu-ray, most notably during the dark nighttime sequences. The black levels are deep and thanks to HDR, the aforementioned dark nighttime scenes have dimension and distinct details in them. The colors are slightly warm which gives the film a natural and authentic look to the film. Overall, the Ultra HD Blu-ray subtly improves on the regular Blu-ray presentation thanks to HDR. Despite the excellent presentation, this might not be the film to showcase the power of your 4K system.

Video Rating: 4.5/5 atoms


Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Ultra HD Blu-ray is presented in the Dolby Atmos format, but it is also presented in the core Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Master Audio track. The review will reflect Never Go Back‘s core Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Master Audio track from the Ultra HD Blu-ray. The entire audio presentation is very front-heavy with the dialogue coming in crystal clear in the center channel. The film’s score also comes in clearly on the left and right channels and never overpowers the dialogue coming through the center channel. Because of the lack of action scenes, the surround and rear surround channels aren’t utilized as much. However, when there is action happening onscreen there is a fair amount of environmental immersion that occurs. The sound effects are dynamic and seamlessly pans from one channel to the other. Overall, the audio presentation has a natural presentation to it that nicely complements the video presentation. However, because of the nature of the film, you’re never fully immersed in the film in comparison to some of the better object-based audio presentations.

Audio Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Special Features

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back‘s Ultra HD Blu-ray disc doesn’t have any special features in it, but the regular Blu-ray contains the following special features:

  • We Are Family
  • Reacher Returns
  • An Unexpected Family
  • Relentless: On Location in Louisiana
  • Take Your Revenge First: Lethal Combat
  • No Quarter Given: Rooftop Battle
  • Reacher in Focus: With Tom Cruise and Photographer David James

Easily the most interesting special feature is the “Reacher in Focus” featurette. In the many years that I’ve watched featurettes on both DVD and Blu-ray, I’ve never seen a featurette about the on-set photographer set to no footage whatsoever. The entire 9-minute featurette is set to the photographs taken by David James. This is definitely a first. Unfortunately, the rest of the featurettes aren’t as interesting. Most notably is “An Unexpected Family” as the featurette takes a look at the relationship between Jack, Turner, and Samantha which I didn’t care for. “Reacher Returns” and “Relentless” feel more like fluff pieces than actual insightful featurettes. “Take Your Revenge First” and “No Quarter Given” are interesting looks at the prep work that went into the stunts of the film.

Special Features Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

Overall, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is an unnecessary and predictable sequel that never really adds to the mythology of Jack Reacher. The Ultra HD video and audio presentations are superb but it’s not the type of release that you want in order to show off the power of your home theater system. The special features are adequate but nothing more than that.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Paramount Home Entertainment.

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