When the film franchise falls apart, it’s time to reboot with a new series - Reacher. Based on the long-running Lee Child novels, Alan Ritchson steps into role of the larger-than-life former MP investigator with a near-perfect adaptation of the action-packed first novel. With a second season on the 2023 horizon, Paramount and Amazon Studios deliver Reacher: Season One to Blu-ray with an excellent video transfer and full-throated audio mixes to match. Bonus features are unfortunately slim. If you hate streaming, this disc will do - Recommended
Our man Bryan pulled together a terrific review of the first season when the show premiered on Prime Video and I fully concur with his sentiments. Lee Child has been churning out the Reacher novels for nearly thirty years. Sporadically I’d pick up one of the books whenever I needed an action-thriller adventure with plenty of punching and gunfire and the novels always delivered. Then came the first film adaptation in 2012 with Jack Reacher. While a solid film, Tom Cruise didn’t quite fill the character’s shoes… so to speak. He could bring an action-man presence to the role but didn’t fully embody the character. The less said about 2016’s Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is probably for the best. After that flop, the powers that be took a page from the recent successful Tom Clancy relaunch Jack Ryan and moved over to Prime.
With Alan Ritchson stepping into the oversized shoes complete with a hulking physique, the Jack Reacher of the books fully comes to life. Smart, with a dry sense of humor, Ritchson perfectly translates the character as described in the novel Killing Floor. It’s exciting when he’s playing detective, looking at the evidence and gathering clues but it’s downright thrilling watching him beat the crap out of the bad guys or any idiot dumb enough to think they’ve got the mustard to take him one-on-one.
From one episode to the next, the show maintains its pace and lets the mystery unfold with plenty of humor, suspense, and action. While Ritchson is the series' star, backup arrives with Malcolm Goodwin as the uptight Detective Oscar Finley with Willa Fitzgerald standing up nicely as the brash Roscoe Conklin. Bruce McGill, Willie C. Carpenter, Harvey Guillen, Martin Roach, and Kristin Kreuk all make welcome appearances throughout the show. It’s rock-solid entertainment from minute one.
Check out Bryan Kluger’s Review for another take on Reacher: Season One
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Reacher: Season One stomps onto Blu-ray thanks to Amazon Studios and Paramount in a three-disc set. Pressed on three BD-50 discs, the discs are housed in a multi-disc case, two discs are stacked on top of each other, with slipcover artwork. The inside of the insert art is an episode listing, but you have to take all of the discs out to read it so it’s not altogether helpful. Each disc loads to a static image main menu with basic navigation options.
While we’d hoped to be able to review Reacher: Season One on 4K instead of Blu-ray, I’ll say this Blu-ray set holds nicely. While streaming is convenient when watching a show on your phone or if you’re looking at something in fits and starts, I’ve always had a tough time with compression artifacts around shadows and deep inky blacks that is never a problem on disc. And that stays true for each 1080p presentation found here. The show overall has a bit of a yellow cast shading to it to give you that feeling of sweaty Georga heat, but skin tones and other primary shades like blues and reds come through with a lively presence. The image depth is impressive as well. Details are sharp and crisp without issues. We may try to circle back and review the 4K discs if we get our hands on them, but for now, this 1080p presentation is impressive all on its own.
On the audio front, each episode of Reacher comes packed with a full-throated DTS-HD MA 5.1 track. While there are many conversational stretches, I appreciated the showrunners finding interesting locations for these dialog-heavy moments so it sounds unique. There’s always a sense of space and atmosphere to any given location ensuring the spare channels are actually being used. Things obviously ratchet up for the big fight sequences. The prison fight in the bathroom is a highlight as is a stormy night home invasion sequence midway through the series. The climax is all action and it's an explosive delight. With DTS Neural:X employed, the mix really opens up and finds different ways to expand and impact the soundscape. All around a clean great mix for each episode.
As far as supplemental materials goes, this isn’t the best or the worst. With a pair of featurettes, we can take in some behind-the-scenes materials about bringing the novel to life as a series and the casting of Ritchson in the title role. All of the bonus features are on Disc Three of the set.
While Tom Cruise had some fun in the role, it took a one-time Aquaman actor to really bring Lee Child’s man of action to life. Alan Ritchson is perfect casting from his size and presence to his quick wit and dramatic chops. Sticking to the book lets the series explore all of the ins and outs of the plot, expand the characters, and just be true to the source in a way neither of the past films could accomplish. Paramount and Amazon made perfect partners for the series and I can’t wait for Season Two to come in 2023. Now on Blu-ray, the series makes an excellent turn in 1080p with terrific audio and a couple decent but slim bonus features. For fans needing a Reacher fix without maintaining a Prime Video subscription - Recommended