Alan Ritchson’s New Spy Movie Role Is A Big Insult To Jack Reacher

Alan Ritchson has strong feelings about his character in Guy Ritchie’s The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, insulting Jack Reacher in the process.

Alan Ritchson’s comments about his character in Guy Ritchie’s spy movie The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare offer a tantalizing insight into what the film might involve, yet also insult the 41-year-old star’s most recognizable role. Due to his impressive physique, Alan Ritchson has often been cast in physically intimidating parts – a trend embodied by his portrayal of Lee Child’s famous hobo detective Jack Reacher. However, while Reacher is notorious for his size, strength, and various skills, Ritchson’s description of his upcoming movie role suggests that he is about to be eclipsed.

Although Jack Reacher has been a popular figure in the public consciousness for nearly three decades, following author Lee Child’s debut crime thriller Killing Floor, the character has been given a new lease of life following Ritchson’s performance in the Amazon Prime Video series Reacher. Unlike Tom Cruise’s earlier take on the character, Ritchson embodies Reacher as imagined by Child. The physicality of his performance has helped secure Jack Reacher’s status as one of the most intimidating characters on TV. Yet, despite this reputation, Ritchson’s Guy Ritchie movie role may diminish his standing.

Alan Ritchson Describes His New Movie Character As The “Baddest Dude,” Not Jack Reacher

Alan Ritchson waving a dead sailor's arm as Henry Cavill looks through a telescope in The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare
Image via Lionsgate

Despite portraying a character who has, across two seasons, survived torture, single-handedly killed dozens of opponents, and displayed Sherlock Holmes-like detective abilities, Alan Ritchson has confirmed that his Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare character, Anders Lassen, is actually the “baddest dude” he’s ever portrayed. Ritchson made the comments in an interview with TheHollywood Reporter, going on to add: “(he was) the baddest dude I’ve ever seen on paper in my life… It was the greatest gift I’ve ever received.”

Given The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare’s story about a group of elite soldiers going undercover to fight Nazis in the Second World War, these comments are perhaps unsurprising. However, given that Ritchson owes much of his acting reputation to his portrayal of legendary “badass” Jack Reacher, the comments will inevitably raise eyebrows. Given all that Reacher does in the Amazon series, the remarks not only make The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare seem even more exciting but also put Reacher’s previous physical feats into perspective.

What Makes Ritchson’s Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare Character So Tough

Anders Lassen, Henry Hayes, Geoffrey Appleyard, Freddy Alvarez, and Gus March-Phillips aboard a boat in The Ministry of Ungentlemanly WarfareImage via Lionsgate

While Reacher is both a literal and metaphorical towering presence when it comes to discussing tough fictional characters, Ritchson has already revealed why he believes Lassen edges the ex-army major. In his Hollywood Reporter interview, for instance, Ritchson emphasized his passionate hatred for the movie’s antagonists as a reason for his brutality. As he explained:

“Anders Lassen hated these Nazis. This was not just a dutiful soldier. This guy f**king had a mission. He wanted to murder these guys. He didn’t just want to kill him. He wanted hate kills.”

This personality trait represents a clear difference between Lassen and Reacher. While Lee Child’s character is not afraid to seek revenge – unrelentingly pursuing anyone who crosses his friends and family – he is much more cold and calculating than Lassen. By contrast, Ritchson’s graphic descriptions of how Lassen hunts his enemies make him seem a more unhinged, and therefore more intimidating presence. Coupled with the character’s preference for using a bow and arrow in combat, it’s clear that Lassen represents primal fury in a way that Jack Reacher can’t quite match.

Alan Ritchson’s Lassen Comments Make Total Sense

Alan Ritchson as Jack Reacher in Reacher season 2 looking stern

Even though Ritchson’s remarks might seem belittling to Jack Reacher, the context of the two stories means that they also make perfect sense. While Reacher pulls off some truly incredible feats in the novels and TV series, he remains a fundamentally fictional creation. As a result, his exploits always seem somewhat fantastical – however “badass” they might be. By contrast, even though Guy Ritchie’s spy movie will be a highly-stylized version of real events, it is based on a true story, meaning that Anders Lassen was a real person. This authenticity makes his on-screen exploits even more impressive.

The fact that Lassen was real seems to be a major reason why Ritchson himself is so enamored with the character. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Ritchson described Lassen as “a giant that we are lucky was among us”. Given that the real Lassen received a Victoria Cross (the highest accolade a British soldier can receive) for his bravery and was engaged in some of the most daring and dangerous missions in the Second World War all before the age of 25, it would almost be more insulting to call Jack Reacher a more intimidating character.

Who Would Win In A Fight: Jack Reacher Or Anders Lassen?

Removing the real Anders Lassen from the equation, a battle between Ritchson’s interpretation and Jack Reacher would undoubtedly be very close. Over two seasons of Reacher, the American soldier has been shown to be a master of hand-to-hand combat, as well as proficient with various firearms. In total, Reacher has killed nearly 50 people throughout his investigations, combining a calculating streak with complete ruthlessness that makes him a formidable opponent for anyone.

Anders Lassen, on the other hand, is a completely different (but no less intimidating) prospect. The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare trailer shows Lassen taking on several opponents at once, much like Reacher, while also using unorthodox weaponry like a bow and arrow, and an ax. Unlike his fictional counterpart, Lassen seems almost maniacal as he fights, not only being described as “mad” by Henry Cavill’s Gus March-Phillips but also happily waving a hatchet once he has disposed of his adversaries in one memorable trailer scene.

In the end, a fight between the pair might come down to the circumstances of the bout. Without any additional context, it seems that Reacher’s ability to remain calm under pressure would stand him in good stead. However, if Lassen had any reason to suspect that Jack Reacher was a Nazi, it seems his barely-contained rage would give him the edge. As Ritchson himself said, Lassen’s hatred would help him to focus on his mission, making him almost impossible to stop. However, Ritchson’s assertion that the real Lassen is “the baddest dude I’ve ever seen on paper in my life” means that he would beat both The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare’s version and Jack Reacher.

 

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