He has just announced the sequel that no one was clamoring to see, “Top Gun: Maverick,” which sounds like a case of cannibalizing his greatest star hit by grinding it up into another franchise.
But, of course, the problem with “Jack Reacher” (2012) and its recent sequel, “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” (2016), is that the character of Jack, as portrayed by Cruise, is a badass who isn’t bad enough — a hellion polished and honed to be “audience-friendly.” Yet why take on a role like this one if you’re only going to water it down?
What’s insidious is that the reason he was drawn to playing Jack Reacher in the first place is that he obviously regarded it as an act of image management — a way to keep pace with the times by letting himself get down and dirty (but not too much).
The movies that Cruise has made since then — “Knight and Day,” “Oblivion,” etc.
Another big summer movie, another franchise, another brand boost, another countdown to the opening-weekend gross — and even if those numbers are not what they used to be (“Jack Reacher”: $22 million, “Knight and Day”: $20 million, “The Mummy”: $31 million), at least they look like they’re in the blockbuster ballpark; globally, the final tallies often are.