6 Times Jack Reacher Kicked Ass

By: Sam Fletcher, July 12th, 2023 10:07 am.

Roaming America, the ex-military police major Jack Reacher has dished out street justice for decades.

It’s a fun series bringing some of the best action around. But James Grant aka Lee Child is a veteran of the genre, so he knows what he’s doing at this point.

Which of these action moments stand out then?

Here we’ll lay them down, giving our selection of badass Jack Reacher moments. We can’t include them all, but these are, in our opinion, six of his best – also listed on our web story.

Also, we shouldn’t need to say this given the title, but warning: big spoilers ahead!

Carl Allen – Tripwire (1999)

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Stopping a bullet with your chest is always going to be intense.

Look, we’re not saying try this at home. Trying this anywhere is a terrible idea. But when bad guy Carl Allen holds Reacher’s girlfriend hostage, he goes right ahead and takes that bullet. Instead of keeling over as the rest of us would, he then gets to fire a fatal shot of his own.

And would you believe it, he saves the day! So much so that later the doctor, a trusted professional with years of medical training, air punches in the surgery for everyone to see. He’s just that impressed with this towering slab of testosterone’s bulletproof pecs.

But I guess it’s not everyday you see a human chest apparently made of Kevlar. And did we forget to mention he’d already taken one to the head only moments earlier? That’s right; his eyesight is impaired for the big fight (the least you’d expect from a bullet scuff).

Realism was never on the table with this series, but that’s why we love it.

Paulie Masserella – Persuader (2003)

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It’s always exciting when the hero meets their match, and this is no exception.

Facing off against Paulie Massarella, he takes down the roided-up bodybuilder in Persuader.

Getting battered for five pages, it seems like Reacher will finally take the fall.

Instead, he manages to take his beating, getting back up to finish him once and for all. Not only that, but he gets a one-liner Arnie himself would be proud of.

It’s super violent and super exhilarating. Every crunch and snap sounds out on the page, never once losing its momentum.

Ranchers – Echo Burning (2001)

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Who doesn’t love a Western-style showdown?

The pace of Echo Burning may be a little slower, but when it picks up it really lands. Ordered to ‘deal with’ Reacher by the Greer family, the ranch hands bite off more than they can chew. Dealt with in a fast efficient manner, Jack does what he does best, all to the backdrop of the Texas range.

I’ll admit, I’m very much biased in favor of Westerns. That’s definitely a big part of this choice, but either way, the setting coupled with the action worked for me here.

He also roughs up a guy in a restaurant bathroom leading to a funny scene out in the parking lot. We can’t leave that out.

Lila Hoth – Gone Tomorrow (2009)

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Everyone loves a terrifying villain, and Lila Hoth is no exception.

A Mujahedeen fighter, Hoth is lethal with a background in blades. Not skilled with knives himself, he still manages to stop Svetlana before taking on Lila.

Oh yeah, and he’s in his boxers for the duration of the fight.

It’s a knife-edge knife fight as Reacher’s scar gets hit, making it a real close call. We know everything will turn out fine, but this tests Reacher making us second guess that rule for a moment.

Plus, Hoth is one of the all-time scary baddies, making it even more memorable.

Aryan Gang – Killing Floor (1997)

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This book first showcases Reacher’s fighting skills in this visceral prison brawl. Plus, it’s always fun to see Nazis get bashed to a pulp.

Mistaken for someone else, Jack gets attacked by an Aryan gang in a prison bathroom. This scene also made it into the Amazon Prime series, but it still packs a punch on the page. With some extreme eye-gouging, it’s not for the faint-hearted. But it gives a clear idea of his capabilities.

Not wasting any time, this is quick, bloody, and brutal. Confident without being cocky, it lets us know what to expect for the future.

Cornhusker Linesmen – Worth Dying For (2010)

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It’s a challenge picking one moment from this book as it keeps hitting hard. From dispatching enforcers to stopping a heart with his fists, Reacher is straight up lethal here.

So I’ll settle on him kicking the Nebraska Cornhusker linesmen’s ass outside the motel. Sent out by the Duncan family to ‘manage’ him, he proceeds to break their arms along with their sporting futures. It’s a visceral showdown with all its bone snaps and cracks.

Once again, even faced with ten linesmen, Reacher proves that he doesn’t ‘have a problem with those kind of odds.’

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