Here’s the best way to tell that the team behind Amazon Prime Video’s Jack Reacher series understand the character, and what fans of the Lee Childs books want to see out of these stories. The first time we see Reacher in the trailer for the upcoming series, he’s seated in a diner. Perfect. Naturally, his meal (guaranteed to include black coffee) is interrupted by distrustful law enforcement agents who are ready to pull Reacher into a violent mess. Such is the way of this massive, wandering man. The new trailer is above. It gets an awful lot right about this fascinating character… and one very important element wrong. Watch it, then read on.
This might look familiar to you, if you managed to watch either of the Tom Cruise movies that were adapted from the Lee Childs action series -- one of which was VERY good, and the other of which was not. Fans of the Jack Reacher series felt, rightfully so, that Cruise was miscast as the story’s lead -- a mountain of a man who personifies brute force. And while Cruise was good as Reacher in every other aspect, Amazon knew they had to skew closer to the book when they tried a Jack Reacher series.
The trailer, as I mentioned, taps directly into who Jack Reacher is: A wanderer, and a former military cop, who can’t stop digging up trouble when he lands in an off-the-map podunk location. There’s always a dead body, a missing person, a put-upon innocent… someone who needs Reacher’s assistance. And his physicality.
There are moments in this first trailer for Jack Reacher that get me very excited for Alan Ritchson’s portrayal. For starters, he leads off with head butts in fist fights. Classic Reacher. Also, that line of dialogue where Reacher basically predicts to an opponent how a fight is going to go down (“One of you’s got to drive to the hospital” is a nice bit of Reacher foreshadowing), only to have it play out exactly how Reacher calculated the fight in his head? That’s right off of the pages of Lee Childs’ books.
What’s my lone gripe? It’s minimal, but it’s the fact that Alan Ritchson -- while looking the size of the part -- is too handsome for Reacher. Not that Jack Reacher is a dog, by any means. But he’s beaten up and broken, with a disjointed nose that has been decimated far too often in fistfights and scars (from those same encounters) all over his rugged skin. Of course, I understand that this is a Hollywood project, and people will tune in for an Abercrombie-perfect leading man as opposed to the hulk that stomps through Lee Childs’ novels. But that’s the one element about this new Jack Reacher trailer that made me say, “Eh, so close, but…” The rest looked really good.
Jack Reacher begins streaming on Amazon Prime Video on February 4. The initial season will be based on The Killing Floor, the first book in the Reacher book series, published in 1997. Good place to begin. It’s a gritty and gripping story, and will make for a solid 8-episode season, if they treat the material right.
Managing Director at CinemaBlend. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.
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