Flicks With Nicki – ‘Reacher’Nicki Salcedo. Photo by Fox Gradin.
Bigger isn’t always better, but in the case of “Reacher” on Amazon Prime, bigger is expected. The title character Jack Reacher (Alan Ritchson) is huge. He’s probably 100 lbs. heavier and a foot taller than Tom Cruise, who played the same character in the film version called “Jack Reacher.” Based on the book “Killing Floor” by Lee Childs, we now have an adaptation for the small screen that’s larger than life.
The show starts as Reacher arrives in fictional Margrave, Georgia. We notice that he carries no bags. No suitcase. No backpack. No duffle bag. Reacher is arrested almost immediately and sent to prison. All he has is a cryptic message from his brother. He learns of a larger conspiracy and his brother’s death.
Through flashbacks, we learn that Reacher was raised as a military kid to an American father and French mother. He’s been cracking skulls in the name of proper justice since he was a boy. This prepares us for the fact that at least once an episode he’ll be cracking some skulls in Margrave.
Margrave has a few notable characters. Finlay (Malcolm Goodwin) is a police detective from Boston now living in Georgia. There’s a sage old barber who knows Margrave’s secrets. We meet Roscoe Conklin (Willa Fitzgerald), a feisty and methodical female cop who’s available for sexytimes. The corrupt mayor Grover Teale (Bruce McGill) wears a white suit, looks like Big Daddy from “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” and sounds like Boss Hog from “The Dukes of Hazzard.” There’s an assortment of innocent victims, military friends, and criminals to keep the show going as the story unfolds. Just imagine “Steel Magnolias SVU.” Poor Reacher just wants a piece of peach pie, but the dead bodies keep turning up.
Each episode goes like this. Reacher investigates murder, money laundering, and corruption. Reacher cracks some skulls. Reacher takes off his shirt. Jack Reacher is more like Jack Reach-For-His-Shirt. Our intrepid hero loves to take off his shirt and jump into the shower. His jeans are set low on his hips. In these moments, it’s hard to recall exactly what crime he’s trying to solve. Reacher puts on a shirt slightly smaller than the previous shirt. Reacher cracks some more skulls.
He’s a hulking mass of a man with the quick intelligence of Sherlock Holmes. The dialogue is sparse. When present, the dialogue is trite.
“I don’t dance.”
“I’ll count to three.”
“I really need a gun.”
Who needs dialogue when I’m stuck on the fact that Reacher owns no clothing? Does he wash his jeans in the hotel sink at night? Why does he throw away his t-shirts? Shouldn’t he have at least one pair of underwear in a backpack? Nope. Nothing. For a guy who likes to shower a lot, you’d think he’d be prepared with clean clothes to match. I have so many questions about Reacher’s personal hygiene.
The highlight of the show involves Frances Neagley (Maria Sten) who Reacher calls upon when he needs extra help. She gets information and equipment, and she can act as a sniper in a pinch. Both Neagley and Conklin are smart and resourceful parallels to Reacher. We see his friendship with Finlay grow. He isn’t a lone wolf after all.
I reluctantly watched “Reacher,” because I’m not usually a fan of the vigilante who wanders from town to town. But I decided to give it a chance, even though I knew I wasn’t the right target audience. After all, I like watching a mystery unfold and a good fist fight as much as the next girl.
If you like Jason Bourne, James Bond, or John Wick, you will love Jack Reacher. The acting is efficient. The action is simple and yet twisty. There are no surprises when the villain and then, oh no, the real villain is revealed. But wait, there’s a third villain. We get it. It’s twisty. It’s easy fun. The first season wraps up nicely with most of the questions answered. I hope season two gives me further insights into the laundry habits of Jack Reacher. That’s the dirty truth. It was a fun ride. Grade C+
Nicki Salcedo is a Decatur resident and Atlanta native. She is a novelist, blogger, and a working mom.