Review by Dan Skip Allen
Jack Reacher has had two previous films based on the character starring Tom Cruise in 2012 and 2016. This character is based on the very popular book series by Lee Child. David Ellison and his Skydance Entertainment have had the rights ever since and decided to go the streaming route. He has teamed with Paramount and Amazon which is a good idea. The eight-episode season based on The Killing Floor, the first novel from Lee Child, allows for more spread-out storytelling and doesn't rush things.
Jack Reacher (Alan Ritchson, Titans) is a drifter who gets off of a bus just outside Margrave, Georgia. Just as he sits down to eat a piece of peach pie, he gets arrested for the murder found out by the highway. The local police detective Oscar Finley (Malcolm Goodwin, iZombie) starts by questioning Reacher. He seems to be a blank wall. The detective and his trusted deputy Roscoe Conklin (Willa Fitsgerald) and mortician Jasper (Harvey Guillen) try to see how Reacher is connected to the murder.
Like a lot of shows based on books, Reacher is written very well by Lee Child and others. Each episode unravels more and more details. This in turn reveals more murders and enigmatic people trying to hide what is really going on in this small sleepy Georgia town. Reacher has to join forces with the local law enforcement of Margrave to help him uncover the truth of who is behind all of this. The story unravels like a Vidalia onion.
The casting of Alan Ritchson as Jack Reacher is quite a choice for the directors and producers of the show. He is more similar to the actual size and stature of the character in the books. Tom Cruise, despite his clout in Hollywood, wasn't exactly the right height or description of Reacher. The other cast members — Goodwin, Fitzgerald, and Guillen — are very good in the show as well. These are just some of the cast though. Bruce McGill, always a solid addition to any cast is a corrupt politician/sheriff and Currie Graham is the owner of a company with a lot to hide involving this case.
Reacher has a similar look and feel to quite a few other shows very similar to this one. The cinematography by Ronald Plante gives it a good look despite being similar to other shows. The music in the show is good as well. It mixes a nice score with popular hits from the eighties and nineties. The show also has some very good directing by a group of various directors. The production as a whole is very good. And the eight-episode run is the perfect number to tell Child's story.
Reacher has a good mystery angle to it. The investigative aspects of the show by the characters are very good. Child's words are adapted very thoroughly by him and the rest of the writers. This story is a very good one and makes for good television. Fans of the books will enjoy this spread-out version. New viewers will like this show as well. Child's books lend themselves perfectly to this kind of storytelling. It's exciting, very gripping, and action-packed.
Reacher creates a show based on a well-known literary character by a respected author, Lee Child. Ritchson does an admirable job portraying him for the streaming series. His military background, height, and size make him an ideal protagonist for a show such as this. This was a very good start to a potential multi-season show. All the different producers, directors, and writers do a very good job creating this show. It should do very well on Prime Video.
Reacher streams on Prime Video beginning February 4. All eight episodes reviewed.