Tom Clancy’s books have inspired several films and TV shows. Actors such as Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, and John Krasinski have all played one of the most iconic Tom Clancy characters of all time: Jack Ryan. But now it’s time for another one to rise. Michael B. Jordan plays John Clark, another popular Tom Clancy character in Without Remorse, an action thriller with moments of brilliance, but one that ultimately succumbs to mediocracy.
John is a NAVY Seal, and a damn good one too. He finds himself in deep waters after a hit on him goes wrong and the assailants murder his pregnant wife, Pam. John survives and swears to avenge Pam’s fate. John, along with Karen Greer (Jodie Turner-Smith), uncover a larger conspiracy, which might go deeper than they ever could imagine. What follows is a convoluted, yet generic revenge flick with very little to say about anything at all.
Without Remorse is directed by Italian director Stefano Sollima, who has proved his talent with TV shows like the recent ZeroZeroZero and Gomorrah as well as the film Sicario 2: Day Of The Soldado. It’s because of these credits that Without Remorse feels like such a disappointment. It’s a film completely void of anything unique or exciting, recycling tired old tropes.
There are a few standout scenes, such as an intense exchange in a burning car, but these are few and far between, rendering Without Remorse a bland experience. The film feels completely disposable and forgettable, almost pointless.
Thankfully, the film is cast with exceptionally talented actors. Jordan is, as he always is, watchable and charismatic. The actor doesn’t have much to work with, but his easy charm and commitment to the role just about keep Without Remorse from sinking. Jordan is also on producing duties here and without a doubt, Without Remorse is a solid film all around, just a painfully disappointing one.
Jodie Turner-Smith, so electric in last year’s Queen & Slim, turns in another solid performance, but like Jordan, struggles to elevate the script written by Taylor Sheridan and Will Staples. The dialogue is exposition heavy and the plot often feels overly complicated. There are plots that feel natural and organic and then there are plots like Without Remorse’s; forced and with too many twists and turns that serve no greater purpose than to pack out the runtime.
The action looks handsome, but like so many action films, it lacks greater purpose and weight. Action doesn’t need to cater to greater philosophical themes, but it needs to have an impact or, at the very least, the spectacle needs to be so spectacular that you forget how empty the film otherwise is. Without Remorse struggles with all of these, never doing anything so fun, outrageous, or violent that it would deserve a spot in your memory as a great action film.
Flawed, uninteresting, and just plain dumb, Without Remorse works as brainless entertainment and is carried by Michael B. Jordan’s endless charisma, but it remains a huge disappointment. It’s 90s -style approach feels fun and vintage but doesn’t carry the film when all other aspects lack excitement. It’s a missed opportunity for all involved.
Amazon Studios will exclusively release WITHOUT REMORSE on Prime Video on April 30th, 2021