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.