Without Remorse is a trimmed and updated version of Tom Clancy’s Vietnam-era novel of the same name. The 109-minute Amazon Prime Video release stars a bulked-up Michael B Jordan as US Navy Seal John Clark, who is part of a mission to rescue a Russian hostage in war-torn Syria. Two members of the mission are killed after the Navy Seals return to America. John escapes, but his pregnant wife doesn’t.
Director Stefano Sollimo and writers Taylor Sheridan and Will Staples give John and his commanding officer Karen (Jodie Turner-Smith) the entire length of the movie to figure out the obvious. Until then, Sollimo treats us to the film’s leading and redeeming feature: slickly choreographed, tension-filled, and highly effective action set-pieces, including two lengthy sequences that speak poorly of Russia’s intelligence-gathering skills.
Michael B Jordan looks all set to lead the franchise that this spin-off from Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan novels is aiming for. The movie’s nasty-brutish-short approach complements the threadbare plot, but the wounds heal all too quickly. The lack of remorse extends to the need to make a lasting impact.
Without Remorse has one or two interesting action sequences, like one where Kelly sets a car on fire and then enters it to interrogate a suspect. Or the one where he takes on a large part of the Russian police force and the paramilitary by himself so that his fellow soldiers can escape from the scene. The action has the same heavy artillery sound design in many 'gritty' thrillers made by Tony Scott and Michael Mann during the 90s. Michael B Jordan's physical preparedness for the role is never in question, however, he never fully becomes a character with an arc. We never quite identify with his sorrow and therefore aren't invested in his thirst for revenge.
Unlike most of the previous Clancy films, "Without Remorse" is a hard R-rated action film that favors punishing and brutal acts of onscreen violence. Director Stefano Solima has been down this road before in Sicario: Day of the Soldado and the excellent Amazon mini-series ZeroZeroZero, both devilish critiques of how American imperialism overlaps with global black markets.
The film would almost certainly benefit from more brawling and less speechifying since Jordan in particular is very good at the former. The actor’s bottled-up intensity, convincingly unleashed in Black Panther and Creed, is this film’s greatest asset. So for those of us who grew up watching this kind of pitiless akimbo-cinema, Without Remorse scratches an itch that modern studio filmmaking forgot existed.
Final Score – [6.9/10]
Reviewed by – Ritika Kispotta
Follow her @KispottaRitika on Twitter (https://twitter.com/KispottaRitika)
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