The Terminal List review: Slow narrative, poor casting, and predictable storyline

The Terminal List is an action thriller series starring Chris Pratt as James Reece, a US Navy SEAL commander who embarks on a killing spree after losing his wife, daughter, and his entire Navy platoon on a covert mission.

Story

James Reece, a Navy SEAL commander, sets out on a covert mission to kill a deadly chemical weapon maker Assad Kahani with a platoon of 14 men. Unfortunately, the tip uncovers to be false, and all 14 men die during the operation.

Back home, James faces a challenging time remembering the clear timeline and details of the events. The doctor and senior officials suspect a concussion and suggest James take a rest for a while.

However, James resists admitting his memory challenges. Things get interesting when Boozer, James’ SEAL buddy, kills himself. Soon, James concludes that Boozer was murdered. 

Following this, in an unfortunate situation, James loses some of his loved ones and is triggered to embark on a killing spree. He is supported by a reporter, Katie Buranek, researching the James Reece story.

Soon, the story uncovers big names involved in the Navy SEAL platoon death, and the choice of right or wrong fall apparently on the viewers.

Performances

Chris Pratt as James Reece does a decent job, but somewhere he lacks the versatility of expressions. The series demanded expressions such as trauma, grief turning into madness, and deep sorrow that Chris was not appropriate at portraying.

It indeed isn’t one of the good works in Chris’s portfolio. However, Ben Edwards, played by Taylor Kitsch, is an interesting casting with a good screen presence. His looks and body language win over the role and its layers.

Award-Winning actor Constance Wu plays the role of a journalist who is ambitious and goes to extremes to uncover the truth. She does justice to her role as always. 

Positives

The story is good, at least on paper. 

The sound design is good, too, with a decent colour palette. The shots and cinematography are nothing extraordinary but align with the story’s progress.

The opening sequence was remarkable and thrilling. Again, very well shot and edited. 

Negatives

What is the use of a thriller series when the thrill instantly disappears? The series is prolonged for an action thriller. One can say that a feature-length film would have been perfect for the story.

Or perhaps a miniseries with a fast pace would have been perfect. But, above all, the writing was not up to the mark. The screenplay lacked depth. And the characters were not engaging because they have not being explored correctly.

It is a very long watch with a predictable ending. The thrill went away long ago, perhaps in the episode where Reece bombs Steve Horn. Nothing after that seemed to be making the viewers grip their chairs tight and anticipate the next event.

It is a blatant hero-led story where the hero, even though his actions are questionable, gets what he wants when a large police force is involved in searching for him. It is a failed attempt at creating an anti-hero. 

Moreover, the significance of flashbacks or paranoia needed to be more precise. James got his grief turned murderous, but where did we see the suffering? In his eyes, in his emotions, in his expressions? Nowhere.

Verdict

The Terminal List is a decent watch if one has all the time in the world to pass. However, it is not worth it if one is a Chris Pratt or a military thriller fan. The writing could have been a lot better, and the casting director should have worked harder.

Rating: 2/5


Also Read: The Terminal List ending explained: Does James avenge his family’s death?