Tom Cruise stars for the second time as Jack Reacher, the ex-military cop, who is the hero of many popular novels by Lee Childs. The movie is called JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK, and it's a better popcorn movie than I expected.

So if you're the mood for some smart and entertaining escapism, JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK is a good choice. The decent story isn't over complicated. And Tom Cruise is appealing as the lone wolf hero who joins forces with a female army major who's as savvy and resourceful as he is. There are exciting fight scenes your eyes can actually follow with nice touches of wit here and there. Plus, the villains are greedy military authorities  who arrange to kill anyone who's in their way, and it's fun to watch Tom and his partner take them down.

Reacher: Two things are gonna happen in the next 90 seconds.

Sheriff: Excuse me.

Reacher: First that phone over there's gonna ring. Second, you're gonna be wearing these cuffs on your way to prison.

Sheriff laughs: Well, that is one magnificent prophecy, Mr. Reacher.

Phone rings

Turns out the Sheriff and his deputy were running a scam that Reacher exposed.

But the next problem is that Cobie Smulders as Major Turner, the woman who replaced Reacher when he left the army, is now in big trouble.

Reacher: Jack Reacher for for Major Turner

Corrupt Officer: Major Turner's been arrested.

Reacher: On what charge?

Corrupt Officer: Espionage.

Reacher: She's been set up.

Turns out that several men under Major Turner's command have been shot because they discovered a conspiracy by higher ups to use soldiers to transport stolen goods.

Soon Reacher himself is being tailed. But he spots that right away.

Reacher: How's it goin'?  (He punches driver through the glass. Pulls the man's head out the window and draws his gun as the passenger draws his.)

Reacher: Don't. Show me. Throw it in the back. I don't like being followed.

But Reacher is soon captured and placed in the same prison as Major Turner. Being a talented escape artist, he busts them both out.

You get the idea. Of course, it's all preposterous, but it's entertaining.

Reacher next to a man on a plane: It's the haircut. All you contractors go to the same barber. (He knocks the man out.)

The unexpected nature of the relationships in the film also drew me in. Turner and Reacher are not a romantic couple and another young woman is in trouble because she just might be Reacher's daughter.

If your expectations aren't too high, JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK could be just the right ticket.

Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now.