Jack Reacher: In films or books, a great guy for a getaway

Lee Child’s character is bigger than life and a perfect character to have a bromance with. Photo: Did Tom Cruise become Jack Reacher in the film? AP

MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, Md., January 26, 2013 — When I heard that they were going to make a movie from one of the Jack Reacher novels, I was thrilled. When I heard Tom Cruise would play Jack Reacher, I was very surprised. I’ve heard that Cruise “plays a lot  taller.” However, I thought that someone like Liam Neeson would have made a better Reacher. Since I haven’t seen the movie I will reserve judgment in that area.

The novels that Lee Child wrote about his character usually end up being best sellers, and I have read all of them. I was first introduced to the Jack Reacher novels several years ago by a friend, and it is easy to get hooked on this character or as one person has said to a fan of the books, “I see that you have a ‘bromance’ with this guy.”

Lee Child, author of Jack Reacher series

If one is to have a bromance with anyone, Jack Reacher is the perfect character. He is 6’ 5” tall and weighs 250 pounds. He is a highly decorated retired Army Military Police major. He is highly analytical and solves many of the cases by intelligence and intuition.

The books are for enjoyment only. There is no deep message or moral dilemma. Everything is black or white.

Reacher can kill a criminal with just one punch to the solar plexus, timing it so that it stops the heart. He is a world-class sniper who defeated Marine snipers in competition. He is obviously extremely knowledgeable about all types of weapons and their capabilities. However, the violence portrayed in the books is never gratuitous on the part of Reacher, which is how he introduces himself.

What is unique about him is his way of life. He only owns the clothes on his back, and those only temporarily. He buys practical, inexpensive clothes and when they get too dirty he buys more of them and then discards the old ones. Typically you can find in his pockets only an ATM card, a few dollars and a toothbrush. He doesn’t own a car, a house and not even a driver’s license. The ATM card is used to access his military retirement check. It is not always clear how he stays clean-shaven; he must use disposable razors. In those books in which he is still in the Army, he is shown using unorthodox methods that don’t endear him with his superiors.

Reacher usually travels by public transportation or by hitchhiking. He takes temporary jobs like pool digging in Florida. He doesn’t have many romantic liaisons and there are not many sexual situations. He is not portrayed as a handsome man, but he does attract his share of female attention.

Tom Cruise AP

Typically each book places Reacher arriving, leaving or in transition between locales. He soon finds himself in the middle of a dangerous situation that threatens innocents or himself.

He immediately gauges the event and takes the side of the underdog and the oppressed. Eventually the situation turns grave and Reacher saves the day in a unique way.  Some of the endings are not worth the rest of the book, but in general they are an excellent read.

The author Lee Child (real name Jim Grant) is British by birth, yet his knowledge of everything American is outstanding. His writing is impeccable, his plots are logical and his research is amazing. As the character progresses over the years, Child includes true to life events to enrich the plots.

He started writing when he lost his job with Granada Television, part of the ITV network in England, giving him extensive writing and managerial experience with commercial television.

He participated in the production of “Brideshead Revisited” and other British hit series prior to starting writing his novels.

The first Reacher novel “Killing Floor” hit the bookshelves in 1997 and the latest this past fall, “A Wanted Man.” For good escapism, Jack Reacher is the man to go with. Thanks to his creator Lee Child, it will be a memorable getaway.

Mario Salazar, the 21st Century Pacifist, is a bleeding heart liberal, agnostic, exercise fanatic, Redskin fan, technophile, civil engineer, combat infantry veteran, jewelry maker, amateur computer programmer, Environmental engineer, Colombian-born, free thinker, and, not surprisingly, pacifist. You can find his articles - ranging from politics to cooking a mean brisket - in 21st Century Pacifist at http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/21st-century-pacifist/  at The Washington Times Communities. Also follow Mario on Twitter @chibcharus #TWTC and Facebook at Mario Salazar.

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Mario Salazar

Mario Salazar is a combat infantry Vietnam Vet, world traveler, renaissance reconnaissance man, pacifist, metal smith, glass artisan, computer programmer and he has a Master of Science in Civil/Environmental Engineering.  Now retired from the Environmental Protection Agency and living in Montgomery County, Mario will share with you his life, his thoughts, his musing on living in yet another century of change.  He will also try to convey his joy of being old.

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