Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Violent Tom Cruise sequel has a high body count.
  • PG-13
  • 2016
  • 118 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 10 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Never give up, no matter what the odds. Always make sure to watch out for the people on your team; when you need help, they'll be there for you. But Reacher also frequently resorts to violence as a means of solving problems/achieving justice.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Reacher is loyal to a fault and is always willing to put himself on the line to help someone who needs aid, without expecting anything in return. That said, he also does whatever it takes to achieve justice -- which often leaves wreckage in his wake. Susan is a strong, capable woman who holds her own against Reacher.


The body count gets pretty high. While Reacher doesn't usually carry a gun, he doesn't hesitate to take one from an opponent. And when there aren't any firearms around, he's pretty tough with his hands or any other object he finds laying around. Shoot-outs leave people dead. People are sometimes shot at close range, execution style. Many graphic fight scenes leave people beaten to a pulp or even worse. Some of these are quite extreme; even though there's almost no blood, gore, or lingering close-ups of the victims, the sound-effects (i.e. bones snapping) and suddenly limp bodies make for several cringe-worthy moments. 


Flirting. One scene of a woman in a bra. 


Occasional swearing includes "s--t," "d--k," "hell," "ass," "crap," "damn," "bitch" and "Jesus" used as an exclamation.


A few brands/products get screen time, notably an LG phone and a Maserati sports car. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

No substance use, but a cache of drugs is found.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is the sequel to 2012's Jack Reacher; both movies are based on the popular books by Lee Child. Like the first, this is a Tom Cruise thriller, so there's plenty of edge-of-your-seat action. Reacher is a one-man wrecking crew who leaves a trail of broken bodies -- only the bad guys, of course -- in his wake as he tries to right wrongs. Characters get shot, sometimes at close range (execution style), and are beaten to death. And while there's not much in the way of blood or gore, the fight scenes, especially the bone-snapping endings, can be pretty intense. On the plus side, there's no drinking, smoking, or drug use (though a cache of drugs is found). Sexual content is minimal (flirting, a shot of a woman in a bra), and swearing is moderate (mainly "s--t" and "d--khead"). And co-star Cobie Smulders plays a strong, capable woman who can keep up with Reacher.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written by12RealParent March 1, 2019


Cross between, A Few Good Men and every other Cruise action movie - and that would have been ok BUT... They had to go and progressively build the bad language... Continue reading
Adult Written byChance M. February 21, 2017

A good flick but falls just short of the original

This was a very good film but just a LITTLE worse than the original. This one had a good plot but they toned down the brutality of the first one (There was only... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byDouglas Mitchell November 3, 2018

An average action flick that’s nowhere as good as the first.

After getting charged for a crime he didn’t commit, Jack Reacher must once again fight to clear the name of him, and an army major. However, this time the stake... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byIamarjunbharadhwaj May 8, 2017

Jack Reacher Never Go Back is Disappointing. The Title Makes Sense Though: You must never go back to this movie

As stated in my title, Jack Reacher Never Go Back is very disappointing. I was waiting for it to come out for at least 3 months. When I watched I was thinking i... Continue reading

What's the story?

Tom Cruise is back in the title role in JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK, a sequel to 2012's Jack Reacher. This time around, Reacher's old friend Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) is accused of espionage. It's up to Reacher to find out the truth. The former military cop realizes both he and Susan are being hunted by a shadowy weapons contractor and uncovers a plot that stretches from Afghanistan to New Orleans. Could it reach all the way to the top of the U.S. Army chain of command?

Is it any good?

This action sequel is an odd mix of thrilling and inert: It's entertaining enough, and the fight sequences are heart-pumpingly good, but the pacing is sometimes glacial and the plot predictable. The leads keep Jack Reacher: Never Go Back from going completely off the rails. Say what you will about Cruise, but he's as charismatic as ever -- and therefore compelling. No one has mastered a steely gaze like he has. Smulders bristles with contained energy, making for the perfect partner, and Danika Yarosh -- as the teen they both assist -- holds her own. 

Still, Reacher is a joyless character. He barely cracks a smile -- which, in a way, serves the plot. But you can't help longing for a glimpse of the Cruise of yore who could tap into a well of cocky naughtiness (Cocktail, Risky Business) to balance the brooding. It's as if Cruise isn't allowed to have any fun at all, even in scenes that are meant to be flirtatious (though still brooding, given the character). In a film that's not especially original, the patented Cruise charm could very well have lifted it out of its doldrums. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the fight scenes in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. How do they compare to what you've seen in other action movies? Is the violence presented as justified? Do you agree?

  • Reacher uncovers a nefarious plot that goes all the way to the top. How are the people in power abusing their authority? What's a law-abiding person supposed to do when the authorities can't be trusted? 

  • Talk about the subplot revolving around a teen: What role do drugs play in her situation? How does she respond to her circumstances?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

Themes & Topics

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