Reacher on Amazon Prime Video premiered on February 4; the critics liked it, and the fans loved it.
And it’s easy to see why. Reacher is a cult, not just a character.
But was it everything we’ve come to expect?
First introduced in 1997 with the first novel Killing Floor, Jack Reacher is a 6’5’’ former Army cop who lives like a hobo and solves crimes combining Sherlock Holmes’ finesse with Batman’s brute force.
He has nowhere to go and all the time in the world to get there, he owns nothing except for a foldable tooth brush, and he tries – and fails – to stay away from drama and trouble.
This wasn’t Reacher’s first screen adaptation because back in 2005, Tom Cruise acquired the film rights and ‘cast’ himself as the title character in the 2012 movie ‘Jack Reacher’ and in the 2016 sequel ‘Never Go Back’.
Both movies were received with mixed reviews but were successful at the box office.
The problem is fans never really felt like they were watching Reacher, it felt like another Tom Cruise action flick.
A few years ago, author Lee Child himself explained why Tom Cruise’s Reacher failed to impress.
“I love Tom Cruise. He’s a great actor and a great guy. And I loved the first two movies,” he said.
“[But] ultimately the readers felt he was not an accurate representation of Reacher. And I’ve got to defer to the readers.”
Throughout the series, Reacher is described as “a hulking, scary brute”, like a man carved out of stone by a sculptor “with talent but not enough time”.
He’s also described as a man who can turn from cold to hot and go from 0 to 100 in a split second. Bursting into action for as long as necessary before cooling down in an instant.
Reacher’s physicality plays a key role in the series, there are entire chapters in which his height and bulk are essential to the story – not just a visual description – and Alan Ritchson, who plays Jack Reacher in the Amazon series, is exactly that.
He fills the room, both physically and metaphorically, and yet despite his bulk, he blends in.
Reacher was exactly what fans wanted mainly because everyone involved – from the showrunner to the cast to the screenwriters – had clearly spent time trying to understand what each character is and does in the series.
You can tell. And it shows.
In the book series, Reacher was born in 1960 and everything is period-correct in the story.
Why is that important? Because Killing Floor is set in 1997, six months after Reacher’s retirement from the Army at the age of 37, meaning Reacher will be 62 in the upcoming book No Plan B, set to be released in October 2022.
Both Amazon and Child confirmed that the idea was to create a 10-episode season for each book but the first season is actually set in the present, with Reacher being in his late 30s now, in the early 2020s.
This is the only question mark that’s attached to the series, because sooner or later certain elements of the story will have to be altered.
But that’s a problem for later. And for the screenwriters.
So back to the original question: was it everything we’ve come to expect?
Yes. And then some.
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