Reacher Series Review: Who The Cap Fits

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Reacher series

The building is on fire. There are spasmodic blasts and bursts of flames. Friends, partners, and dependents are outside watching, anxious, waiting for the worst. Then he just walks out of the door of the burning house. Like Khaleesi in the Game of Thrones but thrice the size of Khaleesi, walking out in all of his 250 pounds glory, Jack Reacher. The other characters waiting should have bowed but this is America and post-medieval. But we viewers are wowed.

This is episode eight of Reacher. He has just busted an intercontinental dollar counterfeiting ring and avenged the murder of his brother and countless others. He goes through fire, literally, to achieve this. But he isn’t burned. This is no hype.

This is a review of Reacher thriller series on Amazon Prime Video, which follows the story of Jack Reacher, first of his name, king of the hard guys and the fist men, protector of the wretched of the earth, father of abandoned pets, the shutter of corrupt seas, avenger of abused kids, breaker of chains, the unburnt.

This is not a hype of Reacher played by our own Alan Ritchson (we profiled him long before he became Reacher). This is a review and we would say the truth as it is and it may come off as hype.

In the beginning

I read “Killing Floor” in 2017. I immediately thought this was a good fit for a drama series or a series of movies. I Google Jack Reacher movies and found that Tom Cruise did buy the rights and made two movies to moderate success in 20012 and 2016. One movie per book.

What happened to the other books? I wondered. I answered myself. The books had actions all right but it is a plate full of thoughts and in-depth calculations. How do you but streams of consciousness in a thriller movie?

This was a question Nick Santora must have asked himself when he decided to develop Lee Child’s first novel “Killing Floor” for TV. And he answered this question pretty well. He made the TV Reacher more expressive than the book one and talk his calculations with his buddies rather than think them. And these were punctuated with the fight scenes smartly executed and leaving the viewer rubbing palms with glee and anticipation.

So they did in eight episodes of 45 to 50 minutes long what Tom Cruise did in one two-hour film and they didn’t bore us to death.

Reacher’s penchant for running wide theories which turn out to be correct – from guessing Finley went to Harvard to saying the crime was about counterfeiting to just knowing which exact hotel Hubble is in are more believable in the book but looked weak on screen.

But the moviemakers didn’t give us room to scratch our head (too long or at all) as the next fight breaks out always immediately. They didn’t solve every plot problem with action like the guys at Fast and Furious are known to do. Nick and his group of directors used action to strengthen the plot not to hide the absence of one.

Machine gun blasting but not just that

When I heard of Reacher series on Amazon, I decided to watch just one episode and walk away if it doesn’t make sense as I was sure it won’t. Then we got to prison and Reacher comes out with machine gun blasting. With his bare fist. The precision with which he beat up the seven or eight goons who corner him is a brilliance to watch.

I have to go back to Brad Pitt as Achilles in Troy to see a one-man-take-all that is this lit. And, in the case of Reacher, he has no sword just his fists which makes the matter worse for his foes.

It is this machine gun performance that kept me but there are other stuff.

There are many emotive aspects like when Joe Reacher tells Reacher not to cry as they go to visit their dying mother for the last time. When they are done, and back in their taxi, Joe says, “Now, you can cry Reacher” and we all wept with the giant.

Reacher series highest point

And when Reacher refuses to stay put in Margrave with his lover Roscoe, saying: “100 thousand years ago, there were people who stayed by the campfire and people who wandered. I’m pretty sure I’m a direct descendant of the wandering type. It’s just who I am….”

And when Reacher leaves town on foot having busted a multi-billion dollars racket, avenged his brother’s death and saved a family, he tries to thumb a ride and the driver wouldn’t even stop and carry him.

How would you rate Reacher?

The guys at Amazon Prime Movies are out for blood. Netflix’s position as the king of streaming won’t last beyond this decade. What we do not know is who and who would surpass them. Now, Amazon Prime Video has shown, reaffirm their capablity of taking Netflix in a single combat.

They have the money, the name recognition, and the sense to push for the Iron Throne. How come no other network saw that the Jack Reacher books are a source of a powerful series in its quarter of a century of existence. They have turned all kinds of things into pictures – from biographies to investigative reports to hearsays (anything but getting fresh ideas) but they didn’t think of Lee Child’s books.

What did Olenna say about her monumental loss to Cersei Lannister? It is the failure of imagination. Executives and creatives should bury their faces in shame for missing out on this gold.

For finding this, the guys who made Reacher series have earned one point. For picking Alan Richtson and not someone the size of Tom Cruise, half a point. For not using a popular name like Dwayne Johnson who said he lost out on playing Reacher in the movies.

We don’t need a Reacher who was a Luke Hobbs or an Ethan Hunt or a Dominic Toretto or a Hound. We desired a not-too-known actor who would grab the character of Reacher and own it. (The guys at StarTribune said that the show would have done far better with a charismatic character like Tom Crusie because “magnetism carries more weight than muscle”. I disagree.)

For thinking these little things that make massive differences and for giving us a fine series in a binge, Reacher series is an 8/10 show.

Image source: TVline

Amos JC

Amos JC

Amos JC is the head of movies and TV content.