Home Television Recaps ‘The Terminal List’ – ‘The Engram’ – Review
‘The Terminal List’ – ‘The Engram’ – Review

‘The Terminal List’ – ‘The Engram’ – Review


When it comes to action, author and former Navy SEAL Jack Carr has been setting a new standard in the genre with his high-intensity military thrillers which have introduced audiences to the intrepid, ‘break in case of war’ action hero Lt. Commander James Reece. And now Reece is set to make his Hollywood debut via the performance of Chris Pratt in Prime Videos’ new shock and awe series The Terminal List. And it’s awesome.

In the wake of a disastrous mission overseas, Navy SEAL Commander James Reece returns home with conflicting memories of the operation and questions about his own culpability.

Noted Hollywood filmmaker Antoine Fuqua reteams with Pratt, and showrunner David DiGilio to bring the intense action of The Terminal List to Prime Video, and Episode One, ‘The Engram’, sets the stage for one hell of a series. With his work on classic Hollywood films such as Training Day, Tears of The Sun, Olympus Has Fallen and The Equalizer, Fuqua knows how to bring the action. But more importantly, he knows how to bring it with the authenticity that it needs. And that’s exactly what he does in The Terminal List. Leaning into the SEAL community, Fuqua, Pratt and DiGilio work hand in hand with Carr and fellow former SEAL, and now producer, Jared Shaw, to make The Terminal List the most accurate and intense portrayal of Special Operations warfare on television. And the action of ‘The Engram’ hits audiences with the force of an M4 on full auto.

Introducing audiences to Chris Pratt’s Lt. Commander James Reece, Fuqua presents a very different character for one of Hollywood’s most likeable stars, and Pratt leans into the warrior intensity of Reece perfectly. Carr had long envisioned Pratt in the role, and it’s a perfect fit. With this role Pratt turns himself into a wartime pitbull who is ready to take the fight to the enemy and damn does he deliver with this performance. A stoic man of few words, Pratt’s Reece is a warrior and hero in the truest sense of the word. Placing loyalty to his family, troop and country above all else, Reece finds himself thrown into a vicious firefight that leaves his whole team dead. But when the body count starts ramping up back on home soil, he soon begins to question everything that happened, including his intense head trauma, and it’s here that we have the start of a compelling new thriller that audiences are going to dig.

Pratt fits the mould and intensity of the character of Reece perfectly, and while audiences have come to appreciate his goofball personality and feel-good character, they’re not going to get any of that with The Terminal List. This is an altogether new performance for Pratt. Reece is a no-nonsense character of immense physical and mental toughness, and his keen intelligence is as much of a weapon as his trained trigger finger. With Reece, audiences get to see a serious and more dramatic side to Pratt that we haven’t seen since Moneyball, and the scope of The Terminal List gives Pratt a lot to play with. The narrative moves fast in ‘The Engram’ and we’re only at the start of James Reece’s character journey, but he’s going to make for one hell of a compelling hero.

Alongside Pratt, Episode One, ‘The Engram’ also introduces audiences to the main supporting characters of The Terminal List. And it’s an impressive cast. There’s Taylor Kitsch as Ben Edwards, Reece’s former SEAL teammate, best friend and now active CIA agent, who is there for him when he needs it. Kitsch gives Ben a great surfer bro meets mercenary quality, and just like Reece, his mind is turning. Constance Wu makes an about turn as crack investigative reporter Katie Buranek, and her ‘take no shit’ attitude marks her as a character to watch in the new series. Riley Keough brings a deep heart to the series as Reece’s beloved wife Lauren, and she’s the only one who can breach his hard shell and give him something worth living for. And finally, Jeanne Tripplehorn brings authority and presence as Secretary of Defense Lorraine Hartley, who is keeping a watchful eye on Reece.

The action hits hard when it comes to The Terminal List’s approach to its action scenes, and James Reece is one hell of a nail driver. Authenticity is the rule of the game and with former active duty Team Guys guiding his every move, Chris Pratt is utterly lethal up on the screen. There’s nothing fancy or flourishing about the combat in The Terminal List and Pratt moves with efficiency and determination to achieve mission success. And a hell of a lot of bad guys get put down in the process. Whether he’s going down range in the series’ Syrian-based opening or taking the fight to a group of assassins close to home, Pratt’s Reece is a warrior who delivers some solid action moments, and Fuqua doesn’t skimp on the graphic intensity of the fight. Spent brass and brutal exist wounds are the focus of The Terminal List and action fans looking for a rush will be very pleased with the visceral intensity that is brought to the action.

Along with dialling up the ferocity of the action on screen, director Antoine Fuqua also dives deep into a dangerous and far-reaching conspiracy that has deadly and savage consequences. There’s an edge to the storytelling that is presented in The Terminal List, and Episode One, ‘The Engram’, has plenty of unexpected twists and turns that will stop audiences in their tracks. This piece of television is an example of a master action filmmaker at work, and Fuqua knows how to keep up the severity of this series of thriller moments right to the episode’s shocking and traumatic final moments.

The Terminal List is a raw, intense and powerful new series for Prime Video and audiences who are looking for a rush will be very impressed by it.

The Terminal List is currently streaming on Prime Video.

Image: Prime Video