If The Gray Man had a plot, it would be The Terminal List. Chris Pratt and Antoine Fuqua spend less than half the money and give four times the entertainment. From Training Day to The Equalizer, Fuqua directed his way to Hollywood elite. His influence is writ large on The Terminal List. The eight part series premiered on Amazon Prime July 1, so most of you may have already seen it. For me, it is almost as good as Reacher, although the critics (39% Rotten Tomatoes) don’t seem to agree. Yet, I have a 95% Audience Score and an 8.1/10 IMDb rating to back me up.
Packed with action, often very violent, The Terminal List follows the first book in a five book series by Jack Carr. Despite the tumor on Lt. Comm. James Reece’s brain, expect sequels. As the commander of SEAL Team 7, Reece and his men have been chasing Chemical Kahani for years. Intelligence puts him at a compound in Syria. The mission, Odin’s Sword, ends up a trap, Reece suffering a concussion while the rest of his team are all killed. He suspects Kahani of having a mole in the military. Given his memory issues, his superiors do not take him seriously. A skeptical reporter offers to “help.” Soon, she will realize that something deeper is going on. I give The Terminal List 4.0 Gavels.
Lorraine Hartley, Secretary of Defense, expresses concern that the drawdown of troops abroad creates additional stress on special forces. Her proposal to reduce forces to 2005 levels and redirect funds to mental health services draws ire from Congressmen and the private sector. The move threatens a $70 billion sale of Nubellum Corporation, a medical supply company, to Plano Corp. Are they somehow connected to Kahani? What is Project RD 4895? Why is Reece the subject of a Professional Target Package?
Not as good at selling brain tumor symptoms as he is at killing bad guys, nevertheless Chris Pratt (Jurassic World Dominion) makes a compelling James Reece. As the intrepid reporter Katie Buranek, Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians, Hustlers) shines. Never underestimate a journalist with a pen, or a gun. Taylor Kitsch plays Ben Edwards, friend and former SEAL, now CIA agent.
Overall, The Terminal List works as well in five episodes rather than the drawn-out eight. I did learn a new word “Nootropics.” It is “a substance that enhances cognition and memory and facilitates learning.” In this case, the drug attempts to prevent PTSD. Although HRT stand for Hostage Rescue Team, it also tackles high-risk missions involving terrorists, and violent criminals. James Reece spend a lot of time eluding HRT.
“In the days before the streaming revolution, The Terminal List would have been turned into a big screen summer action blockbuster and over and done within about two hours. Instead, audiences are being asked to stick with it for hours of bingeing.” Newsday
“Former Navy SEAL-turned-author Jack Carr wrote a series about a SEAL named James Reece. Chris Pratt has played many SEALS in his acting career. The preparation pays off. This is a top shelf warrior tale, by, and for, warriors.” Epoch Times
Must every film which salutes the military be accused of jingoism? Ponder that as you examine the low critic scores.