Terminal List is a 2022 series by Antoine Fuqua.
5 out of 10 stars. Too long. Too many flashbacks. At least half of this series should have been edited out. Just because it’s taken from a novel doesn’t mean you have to include everything. I was bored after two hours.
Chris Pratt (Arnold Schwarzenegger’s son-in-law) plays James Reece, the main character well. Riley Keough (Elvis Presley’s granddaughter) plays his wife Lauren well. She sings in episode 6 (flashback). Constance Wu plays the reporter well. Even Taylor Kitsch plays the sidekick Ben Edwards well. But Jai Courtney as the bad billionaire Steve Horn was bad casting and he looks like a toothbrush. The entire FBI crew was poorly cast and I’m giving them a pass for some of the stupid dialogue. Jeanne Tripplehorn as the bad DOD Secretary was excellent.
Way too long at eight hours. There are definitely scenes that should have been cut out of the film entirely. One and a half hours was wasted on a ridiculous chase through the Sierra foothills in California (outside of San Francisco). Another hour was wasted on the ridiculous sicario side plot. The SEAL flashbacks were another hour wasted. This should have been made into a three-hour film, not an eight-hour series.
A Navy SEAL team led by James Reece goes on a mission to capture a chemical weapons expert working for terrorists. Very quickly it turns out to be a trap and they are killed except for two, Reece and Boozer. They return home without waiting for medical treatment and Reece has a severe concussion. What he doesn’t know is that he’s walking around with a brain tumor that was unwittingly given to him. The people responsible will form his “list”.
When questioned by his commanding officer, he is confronted with audio from the mission that contradicts his memory. Then Boozer is murdered and his death is made to look like a suicide, but they used a gun Boozer never used and there’s the key. What’s even more disturbing is that the Navy claims Boozer has been dead for 48 hours, not 24 hours. So either the Navy is lying to Reece or he has memory issues. It soon becomes clear that he has memory issues from the brain tumor.
Reece’s wife Lauren finally convinces him to have an MRI to check his brain. While in the MRI machine, he hears gunfire and assumes it’s his faulty memory. Then two masked gunmen pull him out of the machine and attempt to kill him. He disarms one and shoots him then fights off the other guy who has a knife. Why a knife? Because these two killers are trying to make Reece’s death look like a suicide too. Reece is cut, but he also cuts the forearm of the remaining attacker before he escapes. As he’s checking the gun, he realizes it’s his gun that was locked in his gun safe at home. So he calls 9-1-1, calls Lauren, and rushes home. Lauren and their daughter Lucy are shot execution style on their living room floor.
In both Boozer’s death and his family’s murders, the first “cop” on the scene is a Navy CSI agent named Josh Holder. Josh is suspicious. And there’s a reporter Katie Buranek following Reece around trying to get his story. She has something he’s been unable to get access to–Boozer’s autopsy report. So in exchange for signing a medical release (so Buranek can get his medical file), she gives him Boozer’s autopsy report. He has his CIA friend (and ex-SEAL) Ben Edwards check Josh Holder’s file. Holder accessed Reece’s file and fingerprints two days BEFORE the deaths. This was how he got into Reece’s gun safe using Reece’s fingerprints and then framed Reece for the murders. JOSH HOLDER is Reece’s first name.
Reece gets into Holder’s apartment easily then tortures him to get information. Holder cries and lasts all of two seconds before giving him the name Saul Agnon of Capstone Industries. Agnon deposits money into Holder’s account for doing his bidding which included Holder killing Boozer and making it look like suicide then giving them Reece’s fingerprints and secure file. SAUL AGNON is Reece’s second name.
Reece gives Buranek a burner phone with directions on how to pay for time and contact him. She shares what she learns about Capstone with Reece and then tries to get an interview with someone at Capstone. Capstone is in the middle of purchasing the company who makes pharmaceuticals used on soldiers. The deal is worth $12 billion. But one of the directors, Mike Tedesco, wants out and contacts Buranek. He tells her about the deal and that they were testing a drug, RD-4895, on a squadron of SEALS without their knowledge and paying off the military to do it. That drug gave those SEALS brain tumors and the head of Capstone, Steve Horn, had them murdered to cover it up. He also gives her the name Marcus Boykin, the man who hired two sicarios from Mexico to kill Lauren and Lucy. He gives her a flash drive and is then killed in front of her. She kills one of her pursuers and Reece gets the other one. She gives him the drive and the information and shows him the MRI scan of his head that was in his medical file. The military has known that he has a brain tumor for two months. They didn’t tell him because he was supposed to die in the op that killed the others, Odin’s Sword. MARCUS BOYKIN is Reece’s third name. STEVE HORN is Reece’s fourth name.
Reece follows Boykin at his home then perches on a mountain and shoots him as he’s driving on the freeway. Boykin’s SUV rolls and crashes down a ravine. Reece climbs down to him and downloads all the encrypted data from Boykin’s phone and gives it to Buranek. He takes a copy of it to his Mexican friend and stays at the guy’s home until he finds out who the remaining sicario is. (Remember he killed one at the hospital.) Reece and Edwards find the sicario at a compound where they are training with about 20 other sicarios and they kill him. Reece actually kills him Rob Roy style by disemboweling him.
Reece has difficulty getting to Horn who has a fleet of ex-military bodyguards armed to the teeth with him at all times. So Reece makes a bomb and drives up next to Horn’s SUV then gets out and sets the bomb off. Horn’s vehicle explodes, but he’s still alive, crawling from the wreckage and Reece does this in the financial district of San Francisco which is extremely crowded. Reece follows him on foot and shoots him twice in the head.
Here’s where the series gets convoluted. The next hour and a half is spent with cops, FBI, and an army unit hunting Reece through the foothills around San Francisco (Sierra foothills). He escapes and joins Edwards to hunt the next three names on the list, Reece’s Naval commanding officers who poisoned him and his platoon: COMMANDER BILL COX, ADMIRAL GERALD PILLAR, and CAPTAIN HOWARD (a JAG officer who was giving them a legal out). They set up Operation Odin’s Sword with the specific purpose of killing Reece and his men so no one would know that they gave them RD-4895 and brain tumors.
Cox was one of Reece’s commanding officers in SEAL boot camp, so he kills him on the beach with one of Cox’s favorite torture devices (I mean training devices ;). His method for killing Pillar and Howard is priceless. He rigs Howard with an explosive vest, sends him in to Pillar’s office, and remote detonates it. Love that he sent the lawyer in to kill the admiral. 🙂
The last name, which Reece gets from the reporter (who gets it from the FBI) is Department of Defense Secretary LORRAINE HARTLEY. She authorized the use of RD-4895 on Reece’s platoon calling it “exigent circumstances”. This clause is meant to be used if men are incapacitated (and thereby unable to give consent) and infected with a highly infectious disease like anthrax. NOT to use soldiers as human guinea pigs.
Reece and Edwards go after Hartley on her private island (she’s rich). She’s already dismissed her government bodyguards and has hired an army of private contractors to kill Reece. Edwards stays on the boat. Reece goes in amphibiously. Buranek is there and grilling Hartley. She gets Hartley’s confession on audiotape. Faced with Reece killing her or Buranek exposing her, Hartley kills herself. Reece goes back to the boat.
In the last ten minutes, we get the last name on the list, BED EDWARDS, Reece’s CIA friend and the guy who’s been helping him. It was the last unnamed account that Steve Horn paid off, the person who designed Operation Odin’s Sword. Edwards was paid $20 million. Reece finds him in Peru and kills him. Then he sails off into the sunset in Edward’s boat. Buranek prints the story and a series of follow ups, exposing the military, the drug, and Capstone.
5 out of 10 stars. I really wanted to like this, but it was a three hour story drawn out an extra five hours, just too long. In parts the writing was pretty awful and almost every law enforcement character was completely devoid of a moral compass. Antoine Fuqua usually picks better stories than this.