‘Terminal List’ Review: Chris Pratt Shows A New Side Of Him In This Solid Military Thriller

The Terminal List

For more than a decade, Chris Pratt has delighted countless millions with his charm, and his energy when performing some of the most lovable characters that cinema has seen in the past decade. Be it Guardians of the Galaxy or in Jurassic World, the actor has now become a recognizable face all around the world. His goofy nature allows many people to connect and relate to him in ways other actors have a really hard time doing.

Pratt has been heavily criticized recently because of his religious background, and his political beliefs, and yet, it is very hard to see his screen persona in any other way than compelling. Pratt’s early roles were actually far from the energetic crazy guy that we know and love nowadays. It wasn’t until his breakthrough role in Parks & Recreations that that persona seemed to permeate all of his work. Before then, the actor delivered some more nuance and serious performances, although in some smaller roles.

The Terminal List, a new limited series arriving at Amazon Prime, is the chance Pratt has been waiting for so long. The chance to go back to his roots and deliver a more nuanced and serious performance. The show is based on the novel of the same title, written by Jack Carr. The show stars Chris Pratt, Taylor Kitsch, Constance Wu, Riley Keough, and Jai Courtney.

The Terminal List

The series tells the story of Lt. Commander James Reece, who along with his team are ambushed while trying to eliminate an important target. Reece becomes the sole survivor of the massacre, but something is off, his mind is playing tricks on his recollection of what happened during the operation, or is someone tampering with the evidence. Reece’s perception of reality becomes blurred, as he tries to uncover a conspiracy that might not even exist.

The job of a soldier is a tough one. More often than not, the job is presented in movies as something that needs to be idealized, something that carries only the good feelings of pride and satisfaction. But in reality, the job of a soldier carries more than just good things. It also brings bad things to the surface, and it chips in the mind of each soldier as their human limits are pushed ever so forward with each mission.

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The Terminal List does a lot of things well. But one of the best elements of the show is how it shows the toll that is taken on each soldier when they risk their lives in the name of their country. Reece, our main protagonist ends up being the sole survivor among men that he considered not only friends but brothers, losing all of them is a traumatic experience and the show doesn’t shy away from it. As Reece’s mind slips from reality, we begin to question the same things as him.

The series is a very solid production, the cast is filled with great actors, all of them putting their best into their roles. The direction is also quite solid, the action is slick and precise. The sequences are very well shot and choreographed, which is something that recent TV series have been lacking, providing very rough and ugly-looking fights and shootouts. The Terminal List might not offer the best when it comes to the genre, but it is way above average.

The Terminal List

Pratt, of course, carries the show on his back, and he is outstanding in the role. It really shows that at least in some degree Hollywood has been misusing him quite a lot. This is normal for Hollywood, they tend to typecast actors in very specific roles and then close the door and throw the key when actors want to do something different. Pratt and many other actors in his situation should be given the chance to do different things without fearing losing their audience in the process.

In terms of plot, the show is quite efficient. Consisting of only eight episodes, the story moves at a very fast rate. Something is always happening on a character or plot level, so every scene feels like it has a purpose. This should always be the standard, but we all know many shows that stretch their length with way too many scenes that don’t offer anything for the plot or the characters. The revelations are also scattered through the season, so you always know that something good is coming.

Military shows often put politics way in front of everything else. However, The Terminal List is smart enough to put their focus on the characters and their personal tribulations. Of course, the nature of the show will attract a section of the audience that feels mostly identified with the values served by the characters, and that is not a bad thing, no matter what other people say. In fact, because the show is so tame on the political spectrum, it might be the perfect point where these two halves of the audience can reconcile.

The Terminal List offers great performances, a very mysterious and well-developed plot, and also slick action. It might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but there is no doubt that the show is very well-made, and it will offer a good amount of entertainment for anyone interested in watching it.

SCORE: 9/10

  • Nelson Acosta

    Nelson Acosta is a professional writer and translator based in Caracas, Venezuela. He is also a member of the Caracas Circle of Cinematographic Critics, a film critic association in Venezuela that aims to preserve and educate audiences on worldwide and Venezuelan cinema. He studi...