I knew of the character before the Tom Cruise films (Jack Reacher and its ‘sequel’ Jack Reacher: Never Go Back) but having not read the books i didn’t really understand nor care about the fan reaction to the casting of the wiry little superstar. Then i randomly read one of Lee Child’s library of (mis)adventures and i could see, easily, that Reacher’s allure as a character was that he was massive, built like a brick gorilla and more likely to break through a wall than to climb over it. We’re talking less Jason Bourne, more Daniel Craig. On muscle-enhancing steroids, wearing a stay-puft marshmallow man costume and able to benchpress a brontosaurus.
So when i saw the casting of Alan Ritchson, i knew they’d nailed it.
Season 1 of this show (a second season has been confirmed), we are told, is based on the book “The Killing Floor”, and i can only assume that this is the first in the Reacher series, as it gives us some origin story and some touching character moments (and a chance for Ritchson to toe the line with his acting skills, injecting Reacher with some deep emotional gravitas as well as his stone cold terminator expression and outlook on life). This is a man that wouldn’t just have shot first, but probably shot Greedo the moment he stepped into the bar simply because he had shifty eyes.
Theres a touch of Sherlock / Patrick Jane about the man himself, able to determine your life story from a fleck of pussywillow on your shoe or what you had for breakfast last wednesday from a crumb on your dashboard; but this is largely sidestepped by brute strength, disregard for the rules and the ability to eat six tonnes of McDonald’s quality-food and not end up looking like me: – a pie.
The supporting cast are all EXCELLENT. In particular Willa Fitzgerald’s Rossco is about as far from the perfunctory female love interest / sidekick as its possible to go, becoming much more of a partner and independent powerhouse sheriff than you might expect. Malcolm Goodwin’s detective Finlay is equally brilliant, a perfect mirror; if Reacher is a garden shed then Finlay is a glass gazebo. Oh and we get to see Lana Lang / Kristen Kreuk (can’t remember which is the actress or character) turn up, having not aged at all since Smallville, and providing the stereotype screaming and hysteria for the major action scenes.
The whole show is wonderfully tongue and cheek as well as dramatic though; in particular the action scenes are over the top, the fight scenes are punch-thump-get-thrown-through-windows nonsence, and the slew of one liners all extracted perfectly from the outline of an 80’s schwarzenegger-a-thon.
“You know, Finlay, under all that tweed, you’re actually pretty jacked'”
Classic. Top notch television and looking forwards to season 2.