Waste Of Time

Prompted by several men of my acquaintance, I succumbed to the hype and watched the Reacher  show on Amazon’s “Prime” channel yesterday — yeah, unto the entire first season so nobody could accuse me of missing the good part or the ending, or whatever.

What.  Bullshit.

Apart from an insanely-ridiculous plot with more holes than a mesh facemark, the entire premise of the show (stolen wholesale from the Then Came Bronson  TV series of 1969-70, only with ultra- violence added) is at about comic-book level, i.e. aimed at the nine-year-old boy mentality.

Loner comes to town, finds rampant injustice, fights against it (literally), kills everyone, wins in the end.  Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider  did it better and more convincingly, in two hours.

I am getting so sick of people fighting in movies, landing what would be crippling blows in real life, only to jump back into the fray and land equally-devastating blows on the opponent.

Pro tip:  when someone is head-butted in the face, the result is a broken nose, broken jaw, broken cheekbone (or all the above), and temporary befuddlement if not outright unconsciousness.  In almost every fight scene in this foul waste of time, the fighters would land not one, but several head-butts on each other, with seemingly no ill effects on either.  Even worse, after the fight was over, nobody showed any ill-effects — no bruising, no fractures, nada.

In one risible fight, Our Hero Reacher gets hit not once but seven times in the ribs with a crowbar.  I hate to spoil the secret, but one blow in the ribs with a crowbar is Game Over — broken ribs, punctured lungs, organ damage — and trying to block the blow with a forearm ends with a broken arm.  And worse, when we see him later (in a predictable sex scene which made me howl with laughter, so awkwardly was it staged), there were absolutely no signs of him having been in mortal combat but a few minutes earlier.

I also think the Desert Eagle was loaded with .22 LR bullets, so little did it recoil.  Please.

Finally, the casting.  Uh huh:  a 6’5″ musclebound protagonist with a steely stare?  Shrimpy dwarf Tom Cruise was more convincing in the movie version, because at least he could hide in a crowd if he had to.   This man-mountain would stand out on Muscle Beach in L.A.

One-dimensional:  the character, the plot, the bad guys, everything.  Oh, and answer me this:  mid-summer in a small town in Georgia, and nobody’s perspiring outdoors?

This show is quite possibly the worst thing I’ve ever seen on TV, and any future series is going to be roundly ignored, with prejudice.


  1. About 12 years ago I started reading the novels. The first two or three were OK for the genre. Fight scenes were acceptable. Just came the book where he is down on the Texas border with Mexico and fights with the evil racist landowners who are hunting and killing Mexicans trying to wetback into the US. I stopped reading and did a little research. The author is a brit and a commie and had nothing good to say about USA.
    I had liked the books and was short of new material so I finished it. Started the next one.
    In one of the western states he ends up helping a bunch of army deserters who are 8n hiding over the Iraq invasion.
    An MP and army guy helping a bunch of deserters. Becasue the war was wrong and injust and evil. Right.
    8n reality I suppose such a situation could obtain but it was at this point I realized thr novels were a fuck you parody of the loan hero archtype as well as being antiamer8can and antocapitalist.
    I stopped reading.
    When they cast cruise I avoided them becasue cruise plus the stories were as above.

  2. I gave up after the 1st episode. About as plausible as The A Team back in the 70s. On the bright side, it’s good to know that 12 yr old boys are getting screenwriting gigs these days.

  3. If you hated this, get a load of Peacemaker. Each episode more inane than the previous.

    1. It’s supposed to be inane. That’s part of the demented comedy gold that is Peacemaker. I laughed all the way through. My wife got disgusted and wouldn’t watch halfway past the first episode. It’s a very delightful counterpoint to all the superhero cape-shit movies that take themselves way too seriously.

      1. The rant about not having a coterie of villains like Batman does is comedy gold.

  4. Ok, I actually enjoyed it. But yes, lots of plot holes and ridiculous scenes. Part and parcel of today’s TV land. The lack of bruises and injuries after each fight was noticeable, but ignorable (I drank a lot of whiskey while watching). I read the first couple books of the series and yes, it is intentionally about a completely 1 dimensional character. If the goofs and plot holes distract you too much to enjoy, I can understand that. Happens to me sometimes. But otherwise it isn’t the worst thing on TV.

    The one jarring thing that got me, just prior to the team of good guys going to rescue the girls in the finale, they had the entire police dept weapons locker at their disposal. Rifles, shotguns, pistols, SWAT gear, etc. What does Reacher have during the final showdown? That same stupid Desert Eagle with no reloads and, well, nothing. Otherwise how can there be a fist fight with the bad guy to finish the finale?

    Of course, I’m the same guy bitching about John Wayne carrying an 1873 Colt Peacemaker in a Civil War movie. So there’s that.

    1. Ditto on most of what you said; and I’ll add this about the Duke:
      He got a lot of use out of a Mdl-92 Winchester in the 1870’s and 80’s.
      Hey……let’s hear it for Hollyweird.

      1. My “Favorite” was “The Comancheros”, set in 1840 in Texas, with a Colt 1873 Peacemaker AND the 1892 Winchester. Both, of course, with cartridges.

  5. Read a fair number of the books in my early teens before I started following your previous blog. Then I learned a whole lot more and realized they’re all tripe. Not even good trip either.

    Die Trying. Tripe.
    The Hard Way. Tripe.
    Echo Burning. Tripe.
    Persuader. Tripe.
    The Enemy. Tripe.
    One Shot. Tripe.

    I bought Blue Moon for $0.10 off the donation shelf at the library to see if anything improved. That was a complete rip off and waste of a couple hours. It is my firm opinion that Lee Child is a hack.

    Then I discovered Stephen Hunter from a commercial segment of the Cam and Company show on the NRA site. Superior in every way. I own all of his books in Hardcover. Even the out of print stuff from the 80s. As far as newer stuff goes Larry Correia’s Dead Six series with Mike Kupari was awesome. Though I prefer the former’s contribution to the novels more than the latter. Peter Nealen is the newest for me, and his work in the genre is top notch. I can’t wait for the rest of the Malestrom Rising series.

  6. I gave up on the silly Reacher books years ago because of the scene in Texas where Reacher is using long distance 30-30 rifles taken from the evil ranch until he is going into night combat out in the open and throws his rifle down and uses his pistol because it is more maneuverable or some such nonsense. I looked up the author and found and email address and wrote multiple pages telling him how screwed up his silly character was and what kind of idiot would write such drivel, even an f’n Brit. Never bought another book or so any of the movies including Reacher the midget because stupid.

    Yep, I like movies and books that have some elements of reality and truth and always disliked Kung Fu type action stuff where the bad guys don’t get hurt, where they take a bullet and it is just a flesh wound through the chest or they get smacked in the head with a board and don’t get purple swollen black eyes, they shoot bad guys and then get up and go out for a drink with the help and all that stupid ultra-fiction nonsense. Bad guys with rifles and machine guns that send bullets that can be dodged while the great hero uses his pistol to drop a bad guy off the top of building with a fast off hand shot. All that hyperbole action makes we want to puke but I guess it sells to some sort of idiots.

  7. The first Star Trek series taught me that TV was a powerful propaganda tool, after one episode showed a “Dangerous Weapon” in the hands of someone not authorized by society’s elites to have it.
    It opened my eyes to seeing bullshit everywhere, on the airwaves, and in print.
    There is no longer a television in this house. I waste my time on the computer, instead.

  8. @Dan in MD: Concur in your opinion of Lee Child.

    I started out enjoying the books because Reacher was a different sort of hero, strong and capable and a misanthrope. Like I picture myself. (Don’t burst my bubble).

    The stopping point for me was when he made Dick Cheney the main villain of one of his stories, without naming him, but barely concealed. I don’t need politics with my escapism.

    He has the usual commie storyteller trait of “Guns in the hands of our heroes: Good. Guns in the hands of any one else: Bad.” John Sandford has that, too, and it makes me crazy. I had to give up on his books over it.

  9. I read only a few of the novels – utter and complete bullshit; the author knew fuck all about weapons or the military. Didn’t waste any more of my time. Considering the source material is utter shite, no surprise the series sucked bigly.

  10. Now his brother is writing them and they are even worse. Still not as bad as what Amazon did to Tom Clancy’s John Clark. They made him a black guy. Who won’t stand out at all in Russia if they ever do the other books. I’m not watching.

    I’ll stick with Stephen Hunter and Vincent Flynn’s Mitch Rapp books (not the ones written after he died.)

    1. Mark Dawson’s “John Milton” series of books are, in my opinion, good reads. I agree with your assessment of the Mitch Rapp series. Not the same since Vince Flynn passed.

  11. The first Reacher film with the crazy midget was barely tolerable. The books were marginal and in typical Brit fashion fubared everything firearm related. After a few books the premise of a homeless man being a detective or investigator just became far too unrealistic for me.

    The early Spenser novels from Robert Parker, Earl Emerson’s two series are rather good. Stephen Hunter is typically a good writer.

    Thank you to folks posting their favorite authors.


  12. The last authors of this genre whom I enjoyed were Tom Clancy and W.E.B. Griffin. More recent offerings, both print and Hollywierd? Bleh. I’d rather eat a bag of rice cakes. I find myself firing up YooToob and watching re-runs of ‘Have Gun Will Travel’.

    1. That’s about all he has going for him. Although he looks the part I thought that he talked way too much in the series. But I agree…much more believable than the Hobbit that played the character before.

  13. a)
    “..risible…in a predictable sex scene…”
    This juxtaposition stalled my tiny hamster wheel.
    I have a Vince Flynn novel behind the seat in the truck.
    For years, I intended to return it to the lending shelf at the old-folks center.
    Thick as a dictionary, I get about twenty pages in during each trip to the dentist… re-starting each time before realizing ‘oops, this is the book with nineteen pages of two Very Seriously government-agents making tea’.
    Twenty pages, nothing happens.
    Robert B. Parker can write.
    Invest a week absorbing ALL OUR YESTERDAYS.
    Stephen Hunter does a pretty fair job.
    In the flick with Mark Wahlberg set-up for a murder of some religion person, the scene with Levon Helm is discussed in film schools.
    Every angle, every frame has meaning.
    Here, the first four minutes:

  14. I’ll second the kudos for Stephen Hunter. I’ve read every book about Billy Bob Swagger, and they are all very good. And Stephen has a sense of humor. What other author would kill himself in one of his books? (The Third Bullet, an alternative version of the Kennedy assassination. He kills his character in the first chapter of the book.)

  15. Yeah, the same goes for the John Wick series. I understand Reeves did undergo some serious weapons training, though. In the first one, he at least did look like he took a good beating, while the house doctor was working on him. I think it was the second one, not sure, where he got tossed or fell off a 5-story building. Something like that. And survived. Yeah. That ended it for me. But Hollywood has always been escapist fantasy. They haven’t made any movie, ever, even ones “based on a true story” that bear any resemblance to reality.

Comments are closed.