I NEVER go into a sequel expecting it to be better or as good as its predecessor.
But the new Jack Reacher film Never Go Back feels like a completely different beast to Tom Cruise's debut four years ago as the steadfast former military police officer turned private investigator.
When I saw the first film I'd never read any of Lee Childs' books on which the films are based and, thus, had no preconceived ideas of what Reacher would look or sound like.
I really enjoyed Cruise in the tense crime thriller and eagerly anticipated its sequel.
Despite plenty of action and Reacher's trademark one-man-against-many fight scenes, Never Go Back feels dull and formulaic.
The film follows Reacher as he returns to the headquarters of his old military police unit, only to find his contact Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) has been arrested for espionage.
He smells a cover up and starts to investigate, but soon finds himself framed for murder.
Soon he and Turner are on the run with Reacher's possible teenage daughter in tow, dodging a gun-for-hire gone rogue as they try to clear their names.
These two new female characters challenge Reacher's routine of a simple but lonely life off the grid.
You can anticipate most of the twists and turns here before they happen, and the monotonous rhythm doesn't really build to much of a climax.
Surprisingly, though, I quite enjoyed the touching, understated ending featuring a lovely scene between Cruise and rising talent Danika Yarosh.
I'm sure there's more life in this Reacher franchise, but only if the original film is the blueprint.
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
Stars: Tom Cruise, Coby Smulders, Aldis Hodge, Patrick Heusinger, Danika Yarosh.
Director: Edward Zwick
Verdict: 2.5/5 stars