Without Remorse: Film Review

Without Remorse

A movie adaptation of Tom Clancy’s novel Without Remorse has been in development since the ’90s, and finally, after many changes to the director, writer, and cast, the movie has been made once and for all.

Michael B. Jordan stars as John Kelly, a US Navy SEAL who leads an operation to rescue a CIA operative taken hostage by ex-Russian military forces in Aleppo, Syria. Three months later, after he’s retired from the military ahead of his wife Pam (Lauren London) giving birth to their first child, Russian assassins retaliate by killing two SEALs from the Aleppo rescue and Pam and shooting John twice. Once he’s recovered, John embarks on a mission to avenge his wife’s murder and get to the bottom of the conspiracy.

Without Remorse is very much a conventional action thriller which doesn’t show us anything we haven’t seen before, with the exception of the performances (which I’ll get to soon). It is perfectly watchable and held my attention for the most part, but Jordan and his cast members deserved a movie that’s a cut above your average and mixes things up whereas this follows a familiar, well-trodden path.

I expected more from the screenplay given that it’s written by Taylor Sheridan – of Hell or High Water, Sicario and Wind River fame – but it’s just serviceable. It does the job, nothing more, nothing less. I didn’t really care about getting to the bottom of the conspiracy, possibly because the ultimate bad guy was so obvious that the reveal lacked a thrill.

I also would have liked Stefano Sollima to have given us more interesting and gripping action sequences. There was a fight in prison that showed promise (on a shallow front, Jordan being topless probably helped) but that was too short-lived, while on the flipside, the Russia sequence felt too long and drawn out and my concentration started to drop. The airplane sequence looked cool though.

Thankfully, Jordan makes the film better than it rightfully should be. He has proven that he’s physically capable with fight and stunt choreography in Black Panther and the Creed films, and Without Remorse properly cements his status as an action star. Kelly is a dangerous man with nothing left to live for and he definitely isn’t mentally sound enough to take on a mission and Jordan nailed his slightly unhinged persona.

Jodie Turner-Smith is awesome as Lt. Commander Karen Greer, a decorated Navy SEAL, and her character is something of a trailblazer considering there are still no female Navy SEALs in real-life. She is Kelly’s closest ally and the most grounded and level-headed member of the team. Hats off to Turner-Smith for shooting this physically intensive role while pregnant too!

Elsewhere, Jamie Bell and Guy Pearce play CIA agents who are under suspicion of being corrupt and are convincingly shifty, while there isn’t enough Colman Domingo, who makes a small appearance as a pastor.

It is already well known that Jordan has signed on to play the character in Rainbow Six next and while this isn’t the strongest launch, the premise sounds very different to this origins story and the teaser left me intrigued.

On Amazon Prime Video from Friday 30th April

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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