WITHOUT REMORSE Review; "Lays The Groundwork For What Could Be A Must-See New Action Franchise"

Tom Clancy's Without Remorse hits Amazon Prime Video this Friday, but what can you expect from this latest adaptation of the author's work? Find our verdict on the Michael B. Jordan-led movie here...

Reviews Opinion

Without Remorse was originally set to be released in theaters, but thanks to the pandemic, it's found a new home on Amazon Prime Video. Considering the success the streaming service has had with the John Krasinski-led Jack Ryan, it feels like a fitting home for the movie, and we can only hope that there are some sort of tentative plans in place to have Ryan cross paths with John Clark. As an introduction to the character, this movie works nicely, but without Michael B. Jordan in the lead role, it could have been a tough one to recommend. 

Telling the story of an elite Navy SEAL who uncovers an international conspiracy, John Kelly's life falls apart when his pregnant wife is murdered in retaliation for his role in that top-secret op. Determined to kill her assassins at any cost, Kelly embarks on a mission of revenge that simultaneously sees him attempting to avoid an all-out war between the U.S. and Russia. So, the stakes are high, and up until the final act, so is most of what plays out on screen. It's unfortunate that Without Remorse doesn't devote anywhere near enough time to John's time behind bars as that feels thoroughly glossed over, but an incredibly well-shot plane crash makes it hard not to wish we'd been able to watch the movie unfold on an even bigger screen. However, while some intense sequences follow, nothing is able to quite top it, and a final act that sees the lead character fighting his way out of an apartment building feels more like it should have been a mid-point action scene than the climactic battle. 

Because of that, the movie ends more with a whimper than a bang, though the stage is nicely set for future adventures thanks to a very cool mid-credits scene. There's also no denying that John Kelly's transformation into John Clark feels earned; it's just hard to figure out why Without Remorse wouldn't end with something a little grander in scale than what we see here as it definitely cuts the movie's momentum off at the knees. 

Taylor Sheridan and Will Staples' screenplay is solid, while Stefano Sollima's direction definitely helps bring their action beats to life on screen in an exciting way (the underwater scenes, in particular, make for nail-biting viewing). However, Jordan definitely elevates the material with a fantastic performance that makes it effortless to buy into John's quest for revenge. Without Remorse firmly establishes the fact that he has all the makings of an action movie star, and he's convincing kicking ass here from start to finish. As for the rest of the cast, Jamie Bell is as reliable as ever, while Jodie Turner-Smith does a great job of adding a badass female lead to the mix who is every bit as capable as John. Lauren London, Colman Domingo, and Guy Pearce are good in supporting roles, though Brett Gelman thoroughly underwhelms as the movie's supposed villain. 

You'll definitely have a good time watching Without Remorse, and while it does fizzle out near the end, Jordan is awesome enough to ensure that John's battle to escape the aforementioned apartment building is compelling and brutal, even if it is somewhat familiar and not overly imaginative. We've mentioned that a couple of times, and while it hurts the movie, it doesn't kill it. It does, however, speak to a larger problem with how events unfold because the pacing is an issue throughout. There's serious franchise potential here, though, and while this origin story doesn't quite stick the landing, now that's out the way, we're hopeful the series can be taken to greater, more ambitious heights. 

Despite hitting a few too many familiar beats, Without Remorse is elevated by Michael B. Jordan and lays the groundwork for what could be a must-see new action franchise. Now, bring on a team-up with John Krasinski's Jack Ryan. 


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