Roush Review: Familiar Rescue Thrills in ‘Echo 3’

Michiel Huisman and Luke Evans in 'Echo 3'
Apple TV+

Echo 3

Matt's Rating: rating: 3.0 stars

“This isn’t Jason Bourne,” the kidnap victim tells her overzealous South American rebel captors. It’s an understandable assumption, considering how many echoes of past thrillers resonate throughout Echo 3.

What this Apple TV+ action series, from Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker writer Mark Boal, may lack in originality it more than compensates for with its grim intensity. The action begins when newlywed scientist Amber (Jessica Ann Collins) is abducted by revolutionaries in Colombia while studying plant life to find new cures for addiction. The guerrillas think she’s up to more than research when a sophisticated tracking device is found buried in her backpack.

Luke Evans in 'Echo 3'

(Credit: Apple TV+)

They’re partly right but also on the wrong track. And as in many a kidnap story, they’re chosen the wrong hostage to toy with. Amber, who’s hiding a few significant secrets, is tougher than she looks, and the loved ones looking for her are even more formidable: her rugged brother Alex (Luke Evans), nicknamed Bambi, and her handsome husband Eric aka Prince (Michiel Huisman), both members of a special ops military unit. (Prince is responsible for planting the tracker, thinking it would protect her.)

If this were NCIS, they might win the day in one episode. But this is streaming, and Boal (loosely adapting the Israeli series and novel When Heroes Fly) chooses to string this ordeal out over 10 episodes. I’ve sat mostly riveted through the five episodes available for preview, with harrowing gunfights and ambushes, and escape attempts, and I’m still not sure how Echo 3 will sustain the tension for the duration.

The geopolitical roadblocks add realism, as the White House and CIA dicker with conflicted and possibly corrupt local troops over how to proceed, forcing a frustrated Bambi and Prince to go rogue, revealing private anguish beneath their tough-guy veneer. Still, I keep wondering when they’ll call in 24‘s Jack Bauer.

Those were the days.

Echo 3, Series Premiere (three episodes), Wednesday, November 23, Apple TV+

Echo 3 - Apple TV+

Echo 3 where to stream