‘Without Remorse’: Needed some remorse

When an elite Navy SEAL’s family is murdered on US soil, Tom Clancy hero John Clark will stop at nothing to uncover the plot and get his revenge.

Pro – Excitement for days

“Without Remorse” is the latest film release from Amazon as they continue to troll the fertile but well-traveled waters of the Tom Clancy universe. “Without Remorse” explores the backstory of Clancy hero John Clark, a former Navy SEAL and future CIA intelligence officer who specializes in “wet work.” Clark is also Clancy’s second most beloved character, behind main character Jack Ryan. Set in modern times, “Without Remorse” has no shortage of exciting action. Multiple set-pieces tie the film together, and combined with a brisk pace, the film keeps the adrenaline pumping. Two of the action sequences in particular are quite evocative and will endure with the viewer well after the film.

Con – Tim Clancy?

Tom Clancy is an author beloved by many. His cold war setting, realistic happenings, and complex yet engaging novels created a wide readership that cut across many demographics. It’s a legacy that spawned 10 novels, multiple movies, a TV series, and a highly successful video game franchise. Clancy’s novels were dense and long, but really well written and so smartly constructed that they sucked readers in.

“Without Remorse” shares little of this DNA. The story telling is sloppy and garbled. What is happening, and why, is confusing throughout, and when the “big reveal” comes down, it feels slapdash and weak. For an IP based heavily on realism (and timeliness when written), “Without Remorse” feels implausible, silly, and out-of-touch with 2021. Attaching the Clancy name is a great way to give a piece of content a rub, but it’s also going to create some real expectations. “Without Remorse” fails to meet those.

Con – Jordan on the Wizards

Michael B. Jordan stars as John Clark. On paper, this feels like a homerun. Jordan is an outstanding actor, full stop. Additionally, having starred as Adonis (Johnson) Creed, Johnny Storm, and Killmonger, he is in the conversation as the best action star of his generation. Unfortunately, the role doesn’t suit him. On one hand, this poorly written version of John Clark gives little for the actor to do except grimace and get angry. On the other, Jordan just feels a little too charismatic and “big time” to encompass the role of a man who will make his bones going unnoticed in crowds. Jordan is by no means bad in this film, and at times he carries it, but there just isn’t much to do and this just doesn’t feel like a great role for someone as famous as he is.

“Without Remorse” is a fine way to spend a Friday night, especially when one considers it likely comes “free” as part of a subscription mainly used to get dog food shipped free to your house. It has great action scenes and stars one of the biggest movie stars on the planet at the height of his powers. Unfortunately, poor writing and an expectation of excellence based on the source material combine to make the film flat and forgettable. Outside of a cool action set piece or two, there isn’t much to remember about this film and that’s the real shame. Race over to the Fridley Palms Theatre to grab some popcorn if you’ve got some free time and want some cheap, forgettable entertainment.