Titans star Alan Ritchson is Jack Reacher in new Amazon Prime series Reacher, based on Lee Child’s novel Killing Floor, and it’s equal parts exciting and boring. There are a lot of thrills and investigative deep dives, but the show meanders and overstretches its runtime. The first episode starts off in a grey stormy night, before transitioning into a warm-tinted morning as Reacher arrives in Margrave, Georgia. Accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he uses his military skills and wit to solve a string of conspiracies alongside Margrave police officer Roscoe, and chief detective Finlay.
The character of Reacher is no-nonsense, very unnerving and barely even speaks – and when he does, it’s either sarcastic in the most honest sense possible, or extremely threatening. Ritchson is a fine choice for the role, his hulking figure embodying the military retiree’s nomadic lifestyle, the intimidating and overly stoic facial expressions delivered convincingly. The problem lies in the writing where Reacher is overly glorified for his skills. It’s very “Gary-Stu” and doesn’t leave much room for development. He stays the same throughout the series, which doesn’t bode well for possible future seasons.
The series oscillates from present day events to retrospective narrative of Reacher’s past. This technique is used only in significant moments of impact, creating parallels between the scenes. As such, there is a healthy balance in storytelling, sprinkling little bits and pieces about the character throughout the eight episodes. There are a lot of intriguing twists, and the action and violence are not at all for the faint-of-heart. Tracking shots are often used from behind Reacher to keep the focus on his intimidating silhouette, while the strong shadows and dark lighting heighten the contrast without taking away from the colour filter. This helps reinforce the atmosphere, but also enhances some of the sequences, be they action or romantic. The country soundtrack creates a very deserted tone that helps hyperbolise both the small-town setting and the lone-wolf aesthetic of the protagonist.
All of this said, there’s a lot of excess fat in each episode that leads to pacing issues and often risks losing the interest of the viewer. Nonetheless, overall, Reacher is a reasonably good series that should stimulate any action lover’s appetite.
Reacher is released on Amazon Prime Video on 4th February 2022.
Watch the trailer for Reacher here: