Thoroughly mediocre and heavy on standard-issue action, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back showcases a haggard looking Tom Cruise and a cast of unremarkable others in an adaptation of a Lee Child novel in which everyone approaches everything with a degree of seriousness that seems at odds with the movie's lack of freshness.
As directed by Edward Zwick, who you may recall directed Cruise in The Last Samurai, Never Go Back amounts to an unsurprising continuation of Jack's adventures as a disaffected warrior.
With an occasional flex of his ever-tightening jaw muscles, Cruise frequently shows off Reacher's fighting skills. And although Reacher is often seen running, Cruise might as well be marking time until the next Mission Impossible movie.
Reacher, who's battling villainous former military types, quickly finds himself in the company of Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders). Reacher springs this highly competent female officer from jail after she's falsely accused of espionage.
The two, then, are off and running.
Eventually, Reacher and Turner are joined in flight by a 15-year-old girl (Danika Yarosh), a skilled pick-pocket who acts out her teen anger with occasional bouts of kleptomania.
We're also asked to wonder whether Yarosh's Samantha might be Reacher's daughter from some long-ago dalliance, an obviously contrived question that sits atop the movie like a wilted bit of garnish.
The main villain is a ruthless assassin known as The Hunter (Patrick Heusinger), a relentless, off-the-wrack killer who shows no compunction about exercising his trade.
Made to look as if Reacher has taken several beatings, Cruise seems to be going through the motions in movie that too often feels as if it's doing precisely the same thing.
Familiarity with just about everything in Never Go Back may not breed contempt, but it puts a damper on anything resembling real excitement.