Jack Reacher is author Lee Child’s most famous creation. Described as a mountain of a man, at 6″5 and muscular, the ex-military policeman spends his days roaming America, tracing the steps of people like his favourite blues musicians. He rolls into Margrave, Georgia to test his theory that Blind Blake had died there. No sooner than him ordering a piece of pie and a coffee at the local diner, however, is he arrested for murder.
After clearing his name – there’s no way he could be responsible for a murder committed the night before when he’d blown into town that morning). It’s discovered the victim was his brother, Joe. After promising to kill “every last one” of the people responsible, he teams up with local detective Finlay and uniform cop Roscoe. Together they investigate Joe’s death.
Bodies start piling up the further they go, and Reacher has more than one run-in with some mysterious henchmen. However, Reacher’s considerable talents both as a fighter and investigator ultimately win out; as they get to the bottom of a town-wide conspiracy that involves environmental destruction, counterfeit money, and a Venezualan cartel.
A Worthwhile Adaptation
Fans of the author and the character both have been waiting a long time for a proper on-screen adaptation of their favourite ex-military investigator. After two serviceable but ultimately fairly flat films starring Tom Cruise, the rights were acquired by Amazon. The big problem with the Cruise films is, as good as Cruise is, he is miscast in the role. Despite some clever filmmaking tricks to try and work around it, the reality is all 5-foot-nothing of Cruise can’t fill the frame in the same way the Reacher of Child’s books does.
Enter Alan Ritchson. After his break-out turn as Hawk in Titans, this is the first big-budget production to feature him front and centre. In this kind of role, it would have been easy for the producers to cast on size alone, but Ritchson brings Reacher to life in more than just a physical way. He’s never the type to waste words, so Ritchson makes the most of when he does decide to speak. More than that though, he brings a kind of charm that works perfectly with the rugged, independent image of manhood that Reacher represents.
Redemption for Reacher
Ultimately, adapting a character that is quite literally larger than life can be a challenge. Series creator Nick Santora manages to nail this – and the rest of the story follows. The supporting cast is great too, with Finlay being a stand-out. The dynamic between him and Reacher makes for some fun frienemy-type banter. Finlay is the strictly by-the-book investigator, whilst Reacher taking a more relaxed view of things… Like proper handling of evidence or investigative procedure.
There’s a lot to like in this new adaptation of Jack Reacher. The mystery is compelling, the acting is on point, and perhaps most importantly, fans of this popular character finally have an accurate adaptation of him on screen. A second season was recently greenlit, so hopefully the benchmark set by this season will continue and we’ll see Ritchson’s perfect take on this literary figure on more adventures.
Reacher is streaming on Amazon Prime now.
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