The Terminal List review: Chris Pratt’s military thriller fails to live up to the hype due to a lackluster script and weak narrative


Show: The Terminal List

Cast: Chris Pratt, Constance Wu, Taylor Kitsch, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Riley Keough, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Jai Courtney, Sean Gunn, LaMonica Garrett

Director: Antoine Fuqua

OTT: Amazon Prime Video

Rating: 2.5 Moons

Amazon Prime Video’s original series The Terminal List, based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Jack Carr stars Chris Pratt and Constance Wu in the lead. The series is touted to be a psychological thriller in which a US Marine goes all out to uncover the truth of a conspiracy that has not only harmed him, his team but also his dear ones. However, the series fails to hold a candle to the book with a lackluster and predictable script that often defies logic and fails to provide any urgency and thrill.

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Chris Pratt plays the lead role of Navy SEAL James Reece. On a covert mission Lieutenant Commander Reece’s entire team is killed in a catastrophic ambush that also claimed the lives of the aircrew sent to rescue them. As one of two surviving members and the commanding officer, Reece doesn’t need any pointers to know that the failure of the mission will be pinned on him. However, when during the interview, Reece finds a different turn of events being relayed to him than what he believes actually happened during the mission is when he starts questioning the authorities, and finds a conspiracy that runs to the highest echelons of the government.

Reece discovers that he has conflicting and often meddling memories of events and questions his own culpability. As new evidence comes to light, he discovers that there are dark forces at play, endangering not only his life but also his family. He realizes that the ambush was not an act of war by a foreign enemy but a conspiracy that has its links to the White House. Now, with no family and free from the military’s command structure, Reece deploys his lethal professional skills to mark and take down the people responsible for the death of his family and team members.

Chris Pratt as Reece leads the series. However, it seems that he is going through the motions of trying to complete the show. Pratt, who is well known as Star Lord in the Guardians of Galaxy series and is deliciously juicy in all the Marvel films, is stoic and utterly humorless. In the series, Reece’s murderous spree is largely because of his wife (Riley Keough) and daughter (Arto Metrz) but the glimpses into his domestic life is extremely shallow and hardly of any significance.

There is hardly any chemistry between Reece and his wife. Even the flashbacks that he suffers bring back memories that make for a hollow viewing with hardly any impact. Pratt as Reece fails to showcase the anguish of a man who has suffered personal loss and just goes on auto-pilot mode to fulfill a theory that he believes in. Every emotional scene of his falls flat and his stone-faced exterior fails to show any emotion during major upheavals.

A few performances do spice up the series though. Jai Courtney and Sean Gunn both bring some excitement to the show by playing two different characters of corporate douche bag. Taylor Kitsch provides some much-needed masala to the series as Reece’s best friend Ben, who immediately gets onboard to help him but also ensures to give him a piece of his mind from time-to-time.

Constance Wu as the nosy journalist shows some spark and is deliciously fierce and has the right amount of suspicion to portray her character. Jeanne Tripplehorn is perfect as the Secretary of State and holds her scenes well, crafting a character that you are unsure about whether to trust her or not. These supporting performances make the eight one-hour episodes watchable.

Antoine Fuqua’s direction is unhurried and fails to capture the necessary thrill needed for a psychological and action thriller. David DiGilio’s script based on Jack Carr’s book is short on actual thrills and serves up misplaced jingoism and masculinity without any supporting evidence. The dialogues are also generic and do nothing to spice up things. The action is bloody but not exciting and one just can’t empathize with Reece’s prerogative.

The Terminal List, despite having the premise of a high-octane action thriller, doesn’t live up to the hype generated by the platform or the star-studded cast and seems a mish-mash of previous military crime thrillers gives The Terminal List, 2.5 Moons.