Contrary to its title, Jack Reacher was the kind of movie that didn’t overreach: It understood exactly what it was—a lean, austere action flick—and that was it. With a strong lead performance from Tom Cruise, a memorable villain in the form of filmmaker Werner Herzog (playing a man who once chewed off his own fingers, maybe the most Herzogian gesture in any movie since he ate his own shoe), and tight, efficient direction from Christopher McQuarrie, Jack Reacher was a solidly satisfying thriller; no more, no less. The film, based on a novel in the long series of books about Reacher by author Lee Child, made $80 million in the United States, and another $138 million abroad; McQuarrie parlayed its success into the gig directing the next Mission: Impossible.
Meanwhile Cruise wants to parlay Jack Reacher’s success into another Jack Reacher. Deadline reports that Paramount is looking to “fast track” a Reacher sequel based on the Child novel Never Go Back. That title might sound like a warning to some: “Never go back to Jack Reacher, Tom Cruise! Or doom shall befall ye!” (I imagine the Ghost Of Christmas Past is a big Reacher fan.) With a cavalier disregard worthy of Reacher himself, Cruise is pressing on.
Never Go Back follows Reacher, former military police detective turned homeless drifter, as he returns “to his old military base in Virginia to take a woman to dinner who is now the commanding officer. By the time he gets there, she has been arrested, and Reacher finds himself being charged with pummeling one guy and fathering a child with a woman. He can’t remember either transgression but gets to the bottom of it with cunning and sometimes brute force.” I’ve heard rumors, by the way, that Sometimes Brute Force will be the title of the next Jack Reacher novel.
With McQuarrie hip-deep in M:I-5 pre-production, Paramount is currently looking for a writer to adapt the book to the screen. After that, they’ll search for a director. It might be a reach, but you know who I’d like to see direct this thing? John Hyams.