A no-frills ’80s action film, Reacher
Reacher, which premiered earlier this year on Amazon Prime, does neither. In Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels, Alan Ritchson plays the title character. With the help of Ritchson, Reacher’s hulking image has been restored; in his books, Child describes Reacher as having hands the size of dinner plates.
Despite his feral build, Ritchson’s Reacher has a disarming charm that towers over everyone in his vicinity. It’s like a yoked Columbo who traded in his trench coat for a muscle shirt, and he’s equally indifferent to his clothes or any luxuries. The clothes are functional: “I don’t need anything too fancy, just a T-shirt and jeans.”
In the new show’s first season, a retired military officer shows up in Margrave, a quaint, small American town you might hear about in a John Mellencamp song. As a result of being wrongly arrested following a murder, Reacher finds himself at the center of a conspiracy involving corrupt police officers and politicians.
Quickly realizing the officer and the chief detective who put him behind bars are the only honest badges in the precinct, he insists on helping uncover the root of the corruption. Even though Reacher working with two police officers feels like an NBA all-star playing basketball with high schoolers, they share great chemistry.
The film is shot and paced like an action film from the 1980s. It embraces the Die Hard, Lethal Weapon aesthetic of the 1980s wholeheartedly. Oscar (Malcolm Goodwin), the chief detective, is a big-city slicker from Boston who adjusts to life in Margrave. The female officer, Roscoe (Willa Fitzgerald), is a newbie who wants to prove herself.
There is also a lot of humor in the show. Reacher tears the zip-tie handcuffs apart with his wrists, asking, “Do you guys recycle?”. Reacher kills two belligerents and breaks their legs like dried pasta in order to contort their bodies in the trunk of the car.
Despite his brute strength, Reacher follows a strict moral code. An Army veteran, his father taught him how to hone his strength and discern right from wrong. “Bullies must know they can be punished, too,” he tells Roscoe in one scene. Alan Ritchson’s father was also an Army veteran.
The series takes you back to a simpler time when filmmakers were more concerned with entertaining an audience than creating big CGI set pieces or scoring political points. It never veers into pedantic wokeism, even though the stakes are raised cartoonishly to apocalyptic proportions.
The Amazon series Reacher won’t win any Emmy Awards, but if you’re nostalgic for no-frills 1980s action flicks, its unapologetic masculinity will keep you entertained throughout its first season – and there’s already talk of a second.
Reacher’ Star Alan Ritchson Says He Needed Surgery After On-Set Injury
“Reacher,” an Amazon series based on the beloved Lee Child books, premiered at a drive-in screening Wednesday night at The Grove in Los Angeles.
“I love this character,” Alan Ritchson, who stars as Jack Reacher in the series, told Variety on the arrivals carpet. “And especially for novels… there’s no better medium than eight to 10 episodes. It’s the right amount of time to tell these stories.”
The Jack Reacher saga, which has sold over 100 million book copies and was previously adapted into a pair of features starring Tom Cruise, continues to hold “such a wide reach. It has clearly spoken to so many different types of people from different walks of life,” said Willa Fitzgerald, who portrays Officer Roscoe Conklin in the series.
But stepping into the shoes of Reacher is no easy feat. In addition to reading all of Child’s books to prep for the role, Ritchson had to put on 30 pounds and do extensive fight training.
“I had to eat a lot of pizza to bulk up for this role… I started working out a little more and stepping into that famous Reacher silhouette. And then the fight training was another level,” said Ritchson. “Reacher’s a heavy yoke to wear, he left me a little wounded. I broke a joint, my AC joint in the shoulder. I had surgery when we wrapped… [And] I tore an oblique in a fight on set. It was rough, but I got through it and I feel better than ever now. Hopefully, we can do many more. I’ll put those scars behind me.”
“Listen, I got tired watching Alan,” joked Malcolm Goodwin, who plays Detective Oscar Finlay, and noted that there are some “really cool” stunts to watch out for throughout the action-packed series.
“It’s going to be a great ride, so hold on,” said Harvey Guillén, who portrays Jasper in the series. He jokingly added, “I think it’s going to be like, ‘Tom, who?’… No, Tom’s great, but it’s just a different take on [the story] when it comes to the actual build of the character and the different layers to him.”
“It’s very surreal to even be talked about with Mr. Cruise, I can’t compare myself to what he’s done,” Ritchson said. “I just tried my best to faithfully adapt what I read on the page and what Nick Santora did for us as showrunner/writer adapting it. I think he did a fabulous job.”
Both Child and Santora serve as executive producers for the series alongside Don Granger, Scott Sullivan, Christopher McQuarrie, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Marcy Ross. The series also stars Maxwell Jenkins as a young Reacher, Maria Sten as Neagley, Marc Bendavid as Hubble, Bruce McGill as Teale, and Chris Webster as KJ.
Ritchson noted that it was exciting to have Child on set. “It was the first time I was ever starstruck, meeting him,” he said. “I was such a fan.”
The first season of “Reacher” is based on Child’s first Jack Reacher novel, “The Killing Floor.” All eight episodes will be released worldwide on Amazon Prime Video on Feb. 4.