Menu Close


A guilty pleasure of mine is the Jack Reacher series of books by Lee Child. They are awful from a literary standpoint. The plot is literally exactly the same every book: vagabond wandering veteran Jack Reacher, a former MP in the Army, rolls into some random town. Someone in that town, usually a rich guy, is doing something naughty. Reacher gets sucked into the town’s problems and ends up beating the shit out of all of the bad guys and banging some hot chick before getting back on a bus and heading to the next town. Rinse, repeat. Every single book. According to Goodreads I have read more than 20 installments of the series and they were all the same. Fun, mindless reads that take about an afternoon to knock out.

Anyway, in the books Reacher is described as an enormous brute who possesses inhuman fighting skills and near superhuman strength. He regularly beats up groups of men, 4 or 5 or more, without much of an issue. No woman can resist him. No one ever thinks to just shoot him from behind. He knows everything and has an uncanny ability to solve complex mysteries with minimal clues. He is a sort of deus ex machina who fulfills the same role as the mysterious gunslinger from old spaghetti Westerns or a knight errant. It is a popular shtick, according to Wikipedia the series has sold over 60 million copies. 
Any book series that popular is bound to spawn movies and Jack Reacher is no different with the first installment coming out in 2012 and the second in 2016. The big problem? Jack Reacher is played by Tom Cruise in the two movies. Cruise is listed as 5’7″ tall and that is probably spotting him a couple of inches. He is also, as of the 2012 moves, around 50 years old and sports painfully obvious plastic surgery. In short (see what I did there?) Cruise doesn’t look like he could beat up one 35 year old guy but in the movies he pummels groups of younger, bigger men with ease. It is ridiculous. Lee Child, the creator of Jack Reacher, addressed the backlash from fans here: Jack Reacher author Lee Child opens up on Tom Cruise film casting criticism and changes from book in Amazon TV series
For the new Amazon series, the producers went in a little different direction in casting Jack Reacher…..
Alan Ritchson is a solid 6’2″ tall and is built like a tank, maybe even a little too well built as Jack Reacher is supposed to be more raw strength. Also Reacher comes across as a little scary and maybe ugly but Ritchson is a pretty boy. It helps that the two main co-stars in the show, a black guy who is a detective and is 5’8″ and the hot chick that (spoiler alert) Reacher inevitably bangs is 5’5″ so he looks enormous in comparison. 
The show is silly and full of plot holes and implausible crap. At one point Reacher pulls a Desert Eagle out of the back of his pants and hands it over, loaded and cocked. Sure the safety is on but an ex-MP has a .50 hand cannon shoved down his butt crack with the hammer back?

I literally LOL’d. You might want to wipe that thing down to get the ass crack funk off of it.
The plot holes are enormous, like Reacher being hit a dozen times in the forearms by a crowbar being swung at full strength by another guy but having no marks or bruises in the following scene. They weren’t even trying
But for mindless entertainment, some explosions, a disappointingly brief boob scene and lots of people getting shot, stabbed, beaten up, strangled, beaten up some more, slapped around and blown up, it fits the bill. Turn off your brain and it is kind of enjoyable and as a bonus they didn’t try to make Reacher into a lesbian black paraplegic but instead made him more true to the character. Ritchson even grew up in a military family moving from base to base like Reacher. 
Enjoy it for what it is, especially if you can watch it without paying Jess Bezos for the pleasure. 


  1. Glypto Dropem

    My wife binge watched all 8 episodes while home sick from work. I just started it and got halfway through episode 3. Pretty violent, and yeah, as an EMT I laughed at the crowbar whacks with no broken bones. She normally doesn't like these types of shows or movies, but she liked Reacher. I think Alan Ritchson, especially shirtless, got her motor runnin'!

  2. polimath

    I read all Lee Childs books on Reacher. If you follow it. Reacher is exploring all 50 states of his country now that he is out of the service. He never had time before. Each book highlights a different state. As a rule.
    He also has a photographic memory, according to the background. Yep, it's kind of mindless but fun. The thing I like the most is the good guy wins and the bad guys gets lots of holes in him and quickly returns to room temperature. We need to see a lot more of good guys winning.

  3. Otis D

    sorry to be this way, but bruises don't show up til the next day or even later sometimes, they are a slow bleed under the surface skin.

    and I hate Matt Damon but those movies he did with that Jason Bourne were the same kind of mindless enjoyment, I think it's the ideological message that sets our feel good chemicals going.
    Masculine eye candy doesn't hurt either. (I'm female, btw)

  4. Arthur Sido

    If someone hits you with a crowbar a dozen times, it might not bruise badly until the morning but I can't imagine it wouldn't leave at least a mark, much less splitting the skin, but again you aren't supposed to worry about it.

  5. LGC

    We're the same age range. I'll see your Jack Reacher and raise you the Mack Bolan books. I had close to 200 of them as a teenager. Why has their not been a Mack Bolan movie?

  6. 3g4me

    I used to read the Reacher books – stopped at 5 or 6, before the first movie came out. While they were fairly formulaic they were still enjoyable, but the rot had clearly set in (increasing NPC viewpoints and characters). And Child revealed his character by prostituting his work for media exposure and money. Not that mindless reading and entertainment is inherently bad – but there is better fare out there.

    Suggestion: Try reading Chuck Dixon's Levon Cade series. Intricate plots and American characters, military background, but strong anti-government and globalist vibes. Far better than Lee Child, imho. Start at the beginning and read them through. For something slightly different, try Peter Nealen, former recon marine and Christian. He's written various series and while a Christian rather than a race realist, he's not pro-American empire globalism or Mohammedan immigration to Europe.

  7. Arthur Sido

    I read a ton of those books, the Survivalist and Mack Bolan, there was one about a private group of mercenaries who were hired out to do crazy stuff but I can't remember the name of the series.

  8. James M Dakin

    When you described the same plot used every time, I couldn't help but think the TV show "Kung Fu". He just never got laid. I don't think. What was I, ten years old or something. Tried the books, couldn't even get through the first one. A talentless hack, like Patterson. I'm not a book snob, I read those damn Survivalist/Bolan books as well. They might have been cheesy as hell, but better talent was behind them. Much better. Not sure what is in our water with today's delusions of grandeur.

  9. George True

    I recently watched the new series over a three or four day stretch as a way to unwind after getting home from work. I liked it very much. Good solid entertainment. And after all, is that not what a movie or TV show is supposed to be – entertainment?

    Yes, there were some unrealistic scenes. The main one in my estimation was when the bad guys captured him. In real life, they would have instantly plugged him with several pounds of high velocity lead right then and there. After all, he is the one guy who has been single-handedly causing them inestimable problems, endangering their entire operation and their very lives. But nooo! Not only do they not cap him instantly, they instead turn him loose to find their former employee, the mild-mannered banker turned money launderer, whom they (the bad guys) have not been able to locate so they can eliminate him as the remaining loose end.

    Their leverage over Reacher is of course that they are holding the super hot Deputy chick who they know Reacher would do anything for. But in real life, even halfway intelligent bad guys would realize that an adversary who is so super-humanly strong and intelligent, and with ninja-like combat skills, will most likely find a way to overcome or outwit his erstwile handler, rescue the Deputy chick, and come after them AGAIN. Real-life bad guys would have ventilated Reacher INSTANTLY, in the very first nano-second that they got the chance.

    Nevertheless, in spite of this and several other plot-holes or unrealistic scenarios, I still liked this new series VERY MUCH. The new guy, Alan Ritchson, is flat-out BUILT, very much like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Duane Johnson, and he is also ruggedly handsome. Very much the type that women naturally swoon over and men naturally admire. He is also a passably good actor, which is rare in a physically well-endowed specimen such as he. And he is funny. Some of his self-deprecation and one-liners remind me very much of Arnold, but only after Arnold had been acting for several decades and had finally become truly comfortable in his skin as an actor.

    Again, I liked it because I was well entertained. It is nice if a movie or TV show can impart a lesson or a principle. Audiences love to be uplifted by movies that illustrate age-old Golden Principles. But that is extremely difficult to do, because the line between illustrating and preaching is an exceedingly fine line, and once a director crosses that line he is lost, because audiences hate being preached to. For a film to simply be very entertaining, without necessarily having some message, is plenty good enough. Yet while the new Reacher series delivers plenty of entertainment, it also contains several ever-popular sub-plots (ie – Principles) such as Good wins out over Evil. Also, if one Good Man makes a stand, other ordinary people will find their courage and stand with him.

    So for the third or fourth time, overall I found the new Reacher series highly entertaining, well worth the time for any guy or gal who likes to be entertained by a good Action & Adventure film. And at this point, if I knew how to do if, you would be seeing the clip of Russell Crowe as Maximus, shouting to the crowd, "Are you not ENTERTAINED !?!".

  10. Anonymous

    If you have enjoyed "Reacher," the new series – do yourself a (huge) favor and check out the original series "Strike Back," the one starring Sullivan Stapleton and Philip Winchester. It ran four seasons, and was then replaced by a lame and rather pale imitation also called "Strike Back," but beware – don't fall for the newer and lesser series. Get the older one, which is now out on DVD and probably streams, too. Fanatistic series and more-entertaining than any series has a right to be. I am still bummed out over it ending, this half a decade or more after the fact. Based on books by former SAS man Chris Ryan.

  11. Unknown

    The big problem with Reacher is that multiple law-enforcement people are killed, in some cases horrifically killed, and no additional law enforcement people show up. Not even county cops? Reacher’s brother appears to be head of some part of Secret Service but here he is shot dead in a field and no investigation? Another Secret Service person comes out, brutally murdered, nobody cares. The evidence shows not that these killers are great at covering up their crimes but exactly the opposite, and it is all kept secret in a small town where they have town meetings about what to do about all the murders? Hordes of Venezuelan hit men just blend in? Also, much of the small town appears to be working at the blatantly illegal business and everybody just shuts up and does their job? And the mayor, who no doubt is dipping his beak, is just a full-on psycho killer at the end willing to dispose of women and children if he can continue his beak-dipping?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *