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Tom Clancy's Without Remorse (A Movie Review)

Updated: Jul 18, 2023


Starring Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Lauren London, Brett Gelman, Jacob Scipio, Jack Kesy, Colman Domingo, Todd Lasance, Cam Gigandet, Luke Mitchell, Guy Pearce, Lucy Russell, Artjom Gilz, Merab Ninidze, Alexander Mercury, Rae Lim, Sumi Somaskanda, Zoe Günther, Jill Holwerda, Angus McGruther and Conor Boru.

Screenplay by Taylor Sheridan and Will Staples.

Directed by Stefano Sollima.

Distributed by Paramount Pictures. 110 minutes. Rated R.

Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse is sort of the state of the art of its popular genre.

I’m not going to lie. I’m not a huge fan of Clancy’s fiction, or of this particular genre – an action/adventure spy film based upon the military – but Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse does it as well as can be expected. For lovers of this type of story, Without Remorse will be a shot of adrenaline. For me, it was good, although nothing I’d ever become passionate about.

However, I understand that a lot of films that I just kind of liked have passionate followings amongst other viewers – such as the Bourne movies, the Mission: Impossible movies and the Jack Ryan films, the last of which are also based on Clancy novels. So, I get that there is a rabid fan base for this kind of stuff. Also, I can recognize when it is done well.

Without Remorse is mostly done very well, though its conspiracy theory plot gets needlessly intricate (read: confusing…) at some points.

It is the first salvo in a potential series of films revolving around favorite Clancy character John Kelly (aka John Clark in the books) starring Michael B. Jordan. A film version of the novel Rainbow Six with Jordan as the character is also in the works, and the character was in so many books that lord knows how many movies this series will expand to.

I say it is based upon the character, because Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse is apparently only very loosely based upon the novel. The basic concept of the book is retained in the film – Navy Seal Clark… sorry, Kelly… seeks revenge when his pregnant wife is violently killed in a spray of bullets.

However, the rest of the labyrinthine – some might say convoluted – conspiracy theory plot is mostly original to the movie. Without Remorse becomes a web of shadowy government agents, soldiers, spies, mercenaries, and others sniping at each other – both literally and figuratively.

There is tons of action – shooting, bombings, chases, drownings and lots of agents and pols crossing and double-crossing each other. It doesn’t always make a whole lot of sense, and sometimes it’s hard to keep track of who’s a good guy and who’s a bad guy – except for Kelly, of course, who is obviously good, but conflicted.

And if, in the end, we are still a bit unclear about the motivations of many of these characters, well that’s what sequels are for, right?

Due to the Covid crisis, Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse has skipped its big screen release and is debuting directly on Amazon Prime Video. While it is nice to get a major title like this for home consumption right out of the gate, I have the feeling this is the kind of film that would be better to experience in a crowded movie house. (Remember those?) Its action palate would work even better on a big screen in surround sound.

However, it’s not the only big film with this problem, and it is certainly not the filmmakers’ fault. This is the hand that life has dealt, and Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse makes for quality content for Amazon Prime. It also opens the possible opportunity of some kind of crossover with Amazon’s Jack Ryan series with John Krasinski, which is based upon another Clancy character.

In the meantime, Without Remorse makes for some exciting filmmaking, no matter what format it is shown on. I’m glad I saw it, although honestly, I’m not sure I’ll have any great urge to revisit it in the future.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2021 All rights reserved. Posted: April 30, 2021.


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