Review: 'The Terminal List' Would Be Better Served as a Movie

terminal list chris pratt primevideo review

Prime Video’s The Terminal List series, based on Jack Carr’s novel, drags after the first episode with flat performances from Chris Pratt and most of the cast. The lackluster and unoriginal story is a cross between THE FUGITIVE and DEATH WISH, but the action gets better towards the end of the eight-episode season.

Navy SEAL Lt. Commander James Reece (Pratt) is on a mission to find those responsible for his wife and daughter’s assassination, and the ambush of his entire platoon in a covert operation. Reece’s PTSD often hinders the character but his drive for revenge motivates his every move. The long list of supporting actors includes Constance Wu,  Taylor Kitsch, Jeanne Tripplehorn, JD Prado (Mayans MC), Christina Vidal and Jai Courtney (SUICIDE SQUAD)

The usual charismatic Pratt is void of any personality as Reece. He’s a serious leader of his Navy SEAL platoon and a present father and husband. You don’t get much of an emotional range from Pratt in this flick which he executive produces. Reece’s demeanor gives off Charles Bronson/DEATH WISH vibes but that revenge-fueled killing spree only lasted two hours versus eight hours of a dry personality in this series. You eventually root for Reece, but you don’t feel a connection until a few episodes in when the conspiracy begins to unravel.

The numerous supporting actors suffer from the same affliction. Most of the performances are wooden except for Sean Gunn, Jai Courtney, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Christina Vidal who’s the fiercest of them all in her delivery. Numerous characters come and go without any real development except what you learn through lengthy exposition.

The violence is brutal which may turn on action junkies especially in the last four episodes when the stakes are higher. The first four episodes are painful to get through as the story unfolds at an extremely slow pace. There’s moments of intense scenes followed by exposition after exposition from numerous antagonists in different scenes.

The Terminal List could have easily been a more interesting two-hour movie. The plot is overly familiar, borrowing elements from classics like THE FUGITIVE and DEATH WISH. With no originality to the story, it’s hard to stick with it for 8-episodes. The Prime Video original is the kind of series that you have playing in the background since it’s slow-moving.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the reactions are vastly different between critics (38%) and the general audience (90%). It’s easy to see why for the very reasons outlined in the previous paragraph. The Terminal List plays to familiar tropes in the revenge/action genre, and viewers love those stories especially when an A-list talent is attached.

Although Reece is suffering from an incurable brain tumor, the finale teases perhaps a second season but does he have much time to go another round?  It's a contradiction to what we're told in the story but it's Hollywood. 

The Terminal List is now streaming on Prime Video.

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