Luke Evans military drama “Echo 3” just meh: review
Luke Evans stars in Echo 3, a serviceable military thriller for Apple TV+ created by Oscar winner Mark Boal.
“Echo 3” premieres on November 23 and is based on an Israeli series (“When Heroes Fly”). “Echo 3” follows Amber Chesborough (Jessica Ann Collins), an American scientist who goes missing while on a research trip near the Colombia-Venezuelan border. Her brother Bambi (Luke Evans) and husband Prince (Michiel Huisman, “Game of Thrones”) — both of whom have military Special Forces backgrounds — don’t trust the CIA to get Amber back, so they team up to help to do it yourself.
To complicate matters further, their latest mission went awry in a way that haunted them both and caused tension in their friendship. The two men also have different backgrounds; Bambi has a working-class upbringing and a mother struggling with addiction, while Prince was born into wealth (he calls Bambi a “redneck” when he gets angry).
Boal (“The Hurt Locker,” “Zero Dark Thirty” and the Netflix military thriller “Triple Frontier”) is no stranger to the genre, and “Echo 3” marks his debut as a small-screen writer. It shows. The pacing often feels unwieldy and the focus is scattered. Boal’s skills are better suited to a two-hour film than a 10-episode series.
The story vacillates between past and present in a way that occasionally feels awkward. (For example, “Echo 3” begins with Prince and Amber’s wedding in a lengthy sequence that doesn’t feel like it has much purpose beyond giving Bradley Whitford a cameo as Prince’s father). Viewers are randomly informed that we are “six months earlier” than the previous scene or “three months later”.
The series flirts with several different ideas: contrasting backgrounds for Bambi and Prince; providing commentary on the nature of war and military covert operations; to contrast their opulent homes with the developing countries in which they conduct missions; and the nature of addiction and drug trafficking. But other than that, “Echo 3” doesn’t say anything particularly insightful on either of those topics before clearing its throat and moving on to the next action beat
That being said, there’s still a lot to like about Echo 3. The acting is solid, with Evans taking a believable turn as a brooding man seething with underlying emotions he can’t articulate (and the Welsh actor’s southern American touch is convincing, too). The plot oozes tension and urgency, and the plot is so consistent that even if the story jumps around too much, it rarely gets boring. And to its credit, the show tries to have more depth than a shoot ’em up story. Though Bambi and Prince (distractingly silly names) are the main characters, Amber isn’t just a damsel in distress, and she gets her own time to shine.
But most of their opponents lack a clear sense of character. Boal tries to make them more than faceless “bad guys” but doesn’t quite make it, and all the action and violence doesn’t feel like it’s there for a reason.
If you are looking for a military thriller, Jack Reacher is more fun. Echo 3 is a good enough distraction while viewers wait for better shows to return.
https://nypost.com/2022/11/21/luke-evans-military-drama-echo-3-just-meh-review/ Luke Evans military drama “Echo 3” just meh: review