Finally, it’s reasonable to conclude that ‘Reacher’—both the character and the series—is the ideal modern-day hero who has risen from the ashes and now finds himself in the twenty-first century, coping with technologically-driven challenges. JACK REACHER, AS PERFORMED BY ALAN RITCHSON, IS SUAVE AND UNDAUNTED.
Critic’s Rating: 3.5/5
Dead bodies begin to appear in and around Margrave after the arrival of a beefed-up former war dog—Jack Reacher. Simultaneously, the Georgian community’s unofficial “godfather” is raising suspicions among local cops (triggered by Reacher, of course). What fresh adventures will this renowned character from Lee Child’s novels have in store for us in 2022? It turns out that the audience is in for a nice surprise!
Call it a creative phase or the dawn of a new age in television, but ‘Mare Of Easttown’ has unquestionably opened the way for mystery-thrillers set in rural hamlets and enigmatic suburbias to have a successful run on television. Amazon Prime Video’s series ‘Reacher,’ which is a modern retelling of Lee Child’s cultish character from his first edition of the novel series, is the latest to join this bandwagon of small-town disasters.
Problems abound in today’s world—drugs, cybercrime, and human trafficking, to mention a few—and Reacher is here to take on the bad guys and tackle an issue that screams relevancy and ‘being contemporary.’
Alan Ritchson, a self-described “Blues aficionado,” happened to be going to Margrave because he had heard a rumor that his favorite performer had perished there. “He constantly seeks problems,” as the adage goes. After getting beaten up by both thugs and cops, Jack Reacher (Alan Ritcher) realizes that his presence at the crime site is no coincidence. As a result, a slow but frantic chase ensues, navigating many socio-political stumbling blocks that include gunshots firing out of dusty alleys… and plenty of swearing!
With a character as large as Reacher, one of the most difficult obstacles for most television studios to overcome is separating the book from the series so that the latter can stand apart while still doing honor to its source material. Also, in this case, Tom Cruise may be standing between success and Jack Reacher, the show: his film adaptation is ingrained in the brains of individuals who have been avid fans of both the novella and the celebrity, thus the reference. Thankfully, Alan Ritchson’s colossal statue dwarfs his amiable co-stars—a common subject in the series for comedic relief—and any parallels to Cruise are moot.
In the pre-pandemic world, Ritchson is feared, mainly distant, and has a part-nihilistic, part-cold attitude on life as Reacher. His coworker cries angrily, “You are an emotional trash fire!”
If the action sequences and systemic tension—typical of thrillers—appear effortless and natural, it’s because to ‘Prison Break’ playwright Nick Santora, who acts as both the director and the thinker behind that thoughts-in-action. Except for the much-needed breaks—bickering, funny one-liners, the works—’ Reacher’ is serious and riveting throughout.
Sure, it could have patrolled at a faster pace, especially in the first few episodes, but the element of mystery and intrigue amplifies the excitement to such an extent near the end that you almost forget about the tedious build-up in episodes one and two. Forgiven. Lee Child’s presence has proven to be a significant plus for the program, since he, as the creator of Reacher, has added to the character’s peculiarities and oddities, definitely earning brownie points with the fans.
Ritchson’s portrayal of Reacher is loud, omniscient but obnoxious, and larger-than-life, which isn’t always a terrible thing for an action protagonist to have, and his character is written in such a way that there’s an enormous level of co-dependency among the other members. Without an uptight Harvard-return investigator Oscar Finlay, Reacher’s highbrow-ness would not have been half as devastating and witty (Malcolm Goodwin). Similarly, the main character’s nomadic image is bolstered by his relationship with Roscoe Conklin, his lady love (Willa Fitzgerald).
‘Reacher’ and his legend have gone through many transformations over the years, but this is by far the most thrilling: enigmatic music, an unpredictable climax, and an ensemble with the potential for individual spin-offs. This eight-part series, however, should have gone through a full cutting session. It’s not that it’s unbearable; it’s just that it takes a little longer than it should.
Finally, it’s reasonable to conclude that ‘Reacher’—both the character and the series—is the ideal modern-day hero who has risen from the ashes and now finds himself in the twenty-first century, coping with technologically-driven challenges. And he’s staying till he kicks some a**es.
Watch Reacher Season 1
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