An elite Navy SEAL uncovers an international conspiracy while seeking justice for the murder of his pregnant wife in Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse, the explosive origin story of action hero John Clark — one of the most popular characters in author Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan universe. When a squad of Russian soldiers kills his family in retaliation for his role in a top-secret op, Sr. Chief John Kelly (Michael B. Jordan) pursues the assassins at all costs. Joining forces with a fellow SEAL (Jodie Turner-Smith) and a shadowy CIA agent (Jamie Bell), Kelly’s mission unwittingly exposes a covert plot that threatens to engulf the U.S. and Russia in an all-out war. Torn between personal honor and loyalty to his country, Kelly must fight his enemies without remorse if he hopes to avert disaster and reveal the powerful figures behind the conspiracy.
Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse is the rare movie where I had a little bit of fun while watching it but as soon as it was over, I forgot about it. I watched the movie this morning and yet I can only recall two or three scenes that stood out to me. That’s not to say that I didn’t pay attention to the film because I did. No matter what film or television show I am watching, I am always paying attention in case I miss something important, and plus, I want to deliver a fully-formed opinion on it for you folks to read.
The film tells an incredibly formulaic story and strangely enough, the story that it tells feels like it gets lost midway through. It starts off fairly strong actually, with John Kelly’s wife getting shot to death while she peacefully sleeps in her bed. Enraged and out for vengeance, Kelly makes it his top priority to find those that committed the crime and will stop at nothing to get revenge the only way he knows best – by killing them.
It is absolutely a familiar premise. The John Wick movies are prime examples of this storyline done in the past and a lot better. In that film, we follow the titular assassin as he seeks vengeance on those who killed his poor little puppy dog, and it’s an absolutely riveting film from start to finish. The central storyline never gets lost amid the insanely brutal action sequences, but sadly, I can’t say the same praises for Without Remorse.
There’s a lot of scenes where characters drone on about pointless monologues that seem to last forever. This wouldn’t have been so bad had these scenes featured dialogue that was actually meaningful and relevant to everything going on, but they didn’t.
Michael B. Jordan is without a doubt the strongest link in this otherwise trope-filled mess. As John Kelly, Jordan brings a sense of physicality and raw emotion to the character that few actors would be able to match. It was clear while watching Without Remorse that Jordan felt passionate about this role and he wanted to portray this character to the best of his abilities, and I am glad to report that he succeeded.
Sadly, the other actors rarely get a chance to shine and show their acting chops. A lot of the side characters here feel pushed to the side for the majority of the movie. There are a couple of moments in this film where a few of Kelly’s teammates are in extreme danger and yet I never felt worried or scared about what would potentially happen to them simply because I didn’t feel attached to them. Why didn’t I feel attached to them? Because their character development was practically non-existent.
Something that I did really enjoy here however was some of the action sequences. A lot of action movies will show the lead protagonist going from room to room and just obliterating enemies left and right without so much as a bruise. Don’t get me wrong, those kinds of films are extremely fun to watch. The aforementioned John Wick series is essentially all about that and I still love them.
But there is something admirable and special about a film that depicts fights and shoot-outs as messy and chaotic. People actually miss a lot of the bullets they fire in this movie and sometimes, a fight doesn’t go exactly as planned. There is a lot of realism to the way these scenes were handled and it was a shining diamond in the midst of an otherwise rough movie.
Judging by the way this film concludes, it seems as though the filmmakers want to make a follow-up, and I just don’t see it happening. To my understanding, this film isn’t performing too hot and it seems as though the general consensus is that a lot of people are finding this film to be a dud. I have to agree.
Overall Grade: C-
MPAA Rating: R for violence
Directed by: Stefano Sollima
Distributed by: Amazon Studios
Release Date: April 30, 2021
Running Time: 109 minutes