Early on in Prime Videos The terminal listChris Pratt’s Navy SEAL character James Reece is described as someone “made to take a kick in the head.” Those words could easily describe this series as well – although there may have been a few too many kicks in the head. A brutal brutal and deadly serious military drama slash revenge thriller, The terminal list (Premiering this Friday; I’ve seen the first three episodes) is like The fugitive meets Marine Special Forces meets a “Don’t Tread on Me” truck decal, with all the delicacy and nuance that implies. It’s frighteningly dark and hopelessly stupid… but at least it’s something new for Amazon’s algorithm to recommend to your dad after he’s done watching jack ryan and reachers.
Pratts Reece is a Navy SEAL commander whose entire platoon is wiped out in an ambush that ends in a chaotic gunfight in an underground tunnel. A shaken Reece swears revenge on the faceless terrorist leader he believes to be responsible – I believe his name is “Haqqani”? Does it even matter? – while the US military leadership investigates what went wrong. But Reece’s hazy memories don’t match the evidence, and he begins to suspect that an ingrained conspiracy is targeting him because he knows too much. He compiles a list of enemies to wipe out, Arya Stark style… but can he even trust his own sanity?
It’s a pretty basic setup for a paranoid conspiracy thriller, but showrunner David DiGilio’s (Strange Angel, Crossbones) – based on the novel by Jack Carr – are woefully close to real thrills. In their place, we’re treated to huge helpings of red-fleshed manhood, dogged chauvinism, and clumsy symbolism. (Oh, and lots and lots of American flags.) The dialogue is generic, but it’s also incidental; It’s just a way of moving us to the next action scene. And those action scenes aren’t even that great!
The terminal list‘s plot defies logic if you think about it for a minute, but it confidently sidesteps such concerns. It’s also completely humorless, punctuated by crude bursts of graphic violence. But even those aren’t effective: the action is gory but unexciting, and the story is confusing but uninteresting. In between we get saccharine family scenes and a paint-by-numbers conspiracy that gets more complicated but not compelling.
The cast is talented, sure, but they’re just going through the motions here. Pratt, as lively and silly as Andy Dwyer continues Parks and Recreation, like Reece, is stoic to the point of constipation. Constance Wu has to turn heads as inquisitive reporter Katie, and Taylor Kitsch at least has some great tattoos as Reece’s military buddy Ben Edwards. It’s sad to see a gifted and versatile actress like Riley Keough playing Reece’s mildly supportive military wife, Lauren. It’s also hard to alias Sean Gunn Gilmore Girls‘ Kirk, even serious, as the slimy CEO who ends up on Reece’s hit list.
There’s certainly room on TV for a pulse-pounding, thought-provoking conspiracy thriller packed with action and intrigue – but in the case of The terminal listthis mission is thoroughly botched.
THE TVLINE VERDICT: Save yourself some time and delete Prime Video’s beefy, bone-headed military drama The terminal list from your watch list.
https://tvline.com/2022/06/27/the-terminal-list-review-amazon-chris-pratt/ The Terminal List review: Chris Pratt, Amazon Prime Video