Sometimes, I get the feeling YouTube knows more about what I like to watch than I do. That’s because, for no reason I can think of, YouTube recommended that I watch a clip of a big, burly man take care of a dog who’s appears to be neglected and abused. It goes from the man noticing that the dog is thirsty, feeding him and then eventually taking the dog away from his “master” to be rescued. This was my first introduction to the new Amazon Prime crime thriller, Reacher.
Now, I have no idea why YouTube thought I would find this clip of Reacher interesting. I don’t really watch stupid pet videos or anything like that. But somehow the algorithm knew I would like it and it was right. The clip got me interested in a show I’ve never heard of. A week after watching that clip, I binge watched the entire first season of Amazon Prime’s Reacher. And I’m glad YouTube knew more about what I like to watch because I really did enjoy the series.
By the way, while this has been on Amazon Prime for a good while now and, well, the book its based on, Killing Floor, has been out for more than a couple of decades now, this is still going to be a SPOILER FREE review. Just letting you know now.
Based of the Jack Reacher book series written by Lee Child, the first season of Reacher follows the general plot of Killing Floor, the first book in the series. This sees Jack Reacher, a hulking musclebound drifter with a mysterious past, visit the small town of Margrave because his favorite blues singer frequented the town. However, due to a couple of murders that just so happened just as he enters town, he is arrested and charged with the murders. Although he is eventually released, Reacher get caught in a web of intrigue as it appears this wholesome town isn’t as wholesome as it may appear on the surface.
You may hear the name Jack Reacher and think to yourself you’ve already seen a couple of movies with the same character. You’d be right as Tom Cruise did play the character before in two films prior to this. It’s kind of funny in retrospect because, in the books, Jack Reacher is described to be a mountain of a man, which is far from what Tom Cruise is! However, I guess it was hard to find someone who fit Lee Child’s description of the character then because it must have been impossible to find an actor who’s beefy enough to look like someone you simply shouldn’t mess with yet come off as highly intelligent and intellectual. Thankfully, Amazon Prime managed to find the perfect person in Alan Ritchson.
I have to give a lot of praise to Alan Ritchson’s portrayal of Jack Reacher as he really makes him a super likable person. He’s straightforward without coming off as rude. He’s a huge man but doesn’t come off as a bully, even when he has to act like a tough guy. He also makes the character seem realistically smart. There are some movies and television programs where the hero seems to jump to conclusions and they are just correct despite some flimsy logic. While Reacher, the show, does have those moments, Alan Ritchson’s performance makes it come off as it all makes sense.
The supporting cast is also pretty good as they all put on some really good performances. However, I do have to say some of them have to put on a Southern accent and there are times when it just comes off as fake. I get why they’re supposed to sound like this as Margrave is supposed to be a rural town that was on the brink of financial ruin just a few years ago. But the fake accent can get jarring to the point it takes me out of my suspension of disbelief.
As Jack Reacher gets in his fair share of brawls throughout the series, I was concerned that poor fight choreography might also take me out of the moment. Thankfully, Reacher’s fight action scenes are mostly good. The ones where he has to fight multiple men at the same time or the ones where he has to use stealth and guile to take them out silently were really good. Oddly enough, the action scenes involving shootouts aren’t as well done. In fact, the climatic battle at the end seemed kind of out of place from all the grounded action the show had prior to that. Despite this, the fight scenes are really awesome, if not a little too brutal for the squeamish… which is great for people like me.
I also like the attention to detail the series has. There are a lot of little nice touches all throughout the show’s eight episodes that I really appreciated, like how you can tell the town is well-off because of the transition from a dirt road to a paved road when entering Margrave’s outskirts. The choice of music throughout the series is also really impeccable as they make good use of some licensed songs.
While most of everything about the first season of Reacher is great, the only thing that’s not exactly excellent is, well, the story. Well, not exactly the story, but rather the twists and turns the story takes to get to the climax. There’s supposed to be this big mystery as to what’s happening in Margrave behind the scenes and who’s pulling the strings. The mystery is fine but the reveal of who the bad guys are isn’t.
It’s easy to figure out who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. That’s not my issue. My issue is the events and clues don’t really line up perfectly. There are also some very convenient story conveniences, like when Reacher encounters something incidentally and he gets a breakthrough in the case because of it. It’s hard to explain succinctly as this is a SPOILER FREE review but there are things that just didn’t seem to add up. As I didn’t read Killing Floor, I can’t say if this is a problem with the book or these were adjusted to fit the television series format.
Overall, however, I will say Reacher, the first season at least, is an incredible watch. The action scenes were great and Alan Ritchson’s version of Jack Reacher is leagues better than the one we saw on the big screen with Tom Cruise. The story could be better as the twists and turns it takes just feels so convenient. I still wholeheartedly recommend watching it if you have an Amazon Prime account.
Have you seen the first season of Reacher? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!