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How Jack Reacher 2 Will Separate Itself From The Mission: Impossible Movies

Tom Cruise currently is riding high. After tepid reactions to such recent outputs as Rock of Ages, Oblivion and Jack Reacher, the action star once again has a bona fide hit with Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. You might assume that Ed Zwick, the director preparing to shoot Cruise’s Jack Reacher 2, would be looking at Christopher McQuarrie’s action-packed sequel and figuring what elements he can copy. Actually, the opposite is happening.

Zwick is doing press for his upcoming chess drama Pawn Sacrifice, and spoke to Collider about his plans for Jack Reacher 2, which he’ll begin filming later this year. Instead of borrowing from Mission: Impossible -- which made headlines by hanging Tom Cruise off the side of a moving airplane – Zwick explained how the Reacher movies have to be different, saying:

It’s going to be very grounded. The emotions are grounded. The action is grounded. Mission: Impossible 5 is an extraordinary accomplishment of a very particular kind, and I think we would be foolish to try and replicate it for a different genre, so this is going to be itself."

They kind of have to be. Jack Reacher isn’t Ethan Hunt, despite the fact that they are played by the same actor. And while they accomplish similar things, they pull off their feats in such spectacularly different fashion that it’s understandable why Ed Zwick – as tempting as it may seem – can not borrow from the Mission: Impossible movies, because they don’t resemble the world that Reacher author Lee Child has concocted.

Jack Reacher is an ex-military officer who travels the country on a pilgrimage of sorts, stumbling into hardship cases and coming to the rescue of those in need simply because he wants to see good triumph over inherent evils. Reacher’s quiet, unassuming, but larger than life and brimming with confidence. He doesn’t belong to an elite spy society, like Ethan Hunt, and he doesn’t have a back of sophisticated gadgets and gizmos. Reacher usually has his fists… and his sharp-as-knives brain.

Jack Reacher 2 will adapt the best-selling novel Never Go Back, which occurred late in the series, though Ed Zwick admits that they will borrow elements from other Reacher stories to supplement his story. The director plans to shoot the sequel in New Orleans in October, and I’m guessing that Cruise will shift from that to Paramount’s sixth Mission: Impossible. Because Rogue Nation proved that there’s plenty of gas in that tank still, and Zwick’s hoping to reinvent the Reacher character so Cruise can have two successful franchises running simultaneously.

Sean O'Connell
Sean O'Connell

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.