After swapping his life as an insurance agent for being a novelist, Tom Clancy became popular thanks to his thrilling novels. His work is mainly about espionage, Cold War, secret agents and military-related topics. Most of us know Clancy because of Jack Ryan and film adaptations such as “Present Danger” and “Patriot Games”. Now, John Kelly, another child of Clancy, comes to life as he gets his long awaited-movie. Sadly, “Without Remorse” doesn’t do him, the celebrated author or the original novel any justice.
The movie opens with Navy SEALs undertaking a rescue mission. While an important mission like that is all about team communication, trust and tactical decisions, it seems this one is everything but that. Kelly (Michael B. Jordan) wasn’t briefed beforehand about it, and ‘teammate’ Robert Ritter (Jamie Bell) is probably the one to blame.
Before superior officer Karen Greer (Jodie Turner-Smith) can calm everyone down, several team members die during intentional hit-and-runs and executions. It becomes even worse for Kelly when his enemies take out his pregnant wife Pam (Lauren London). While he killed most of the assassins, one escapes because Kelly passes out due to his inflicted wounds.
Right after waking up, he’s being informed by Greer that CIA Secretary Clay (Guy Pearce) isn’t keen on getting justice for Pam. According to him, she was sadly just collateral damage. This movie wouldn’t be a stereotypical one if the hero wasn’t out for revenge, even if that means disobeying order and unravelling some dark political secrets. Will Kelly be able to complete his mission, or will his battle wounds prove fatal this time?
An action-packed, slightly emotional and thrilling story like this should have been a success, especially with the strong cast. This time, however, it seems that director Stefano Sollima (“Sicario 2: Soldado”, “Suburra”) misses his target completely. This is because screenwriters Taylor Sheridan (“Wind River”, “Hell or High Water”) and Will Staples took the captivating story and turned it into an unbalanced one.
There’s absolutely no room for emotional connection or growth. The movie skips the more emotional stages (grieving period, in-depth conversation, etc.) in a heartbeat. The action scenes don’t fully fit, mainly because this story is, at its core, about dealing with losing your family.
While the action scenes aren’t 100% right for this movie, they’re the reason why you could check out “Without Remorse”. As an audience, you aren’t able to connect with the characters on an emotional level, but at least, you get splendid action scenes.
The most impressive one is the plane crash over the Barents and the aftermath. We also have to admit that the opening scene certainly impresses us. So heads off to cinematographer Philippe Rousselot (“The Nice Guys”, “Sherlock Holmes”) for giving the movie what it deserves.
The cast members try their hardest to provide the story with excellent performances but sadly, the messy scriptwriting overrules their talent. Jordan (“Creed”, “Just Mercy”) does what the audience can’t: Finding an emotional connection with Kelly, making us sympathize with him. This is due to Jordan’s excellent acting performances and not because of the in-depth development of his character.
The main issue here is that the supporting cast doesn’t get the chance to shine. The female roles are extremely underdeveloped and under-used. Turner-Smith (“Jett”, “Nightflyers”) certainly makes a longing impression, but her talent could have been heightened even more if the chemistry between her and Jordan was able to blossom by providing them with a great story.
While London (“The Perfect Match”, “Baggage Claim”) certainly can stand her ground in this movie, she deserves much more screen time. At the start, we get a glimpse of the impressive Bell (“Rocketman”, “6 Days”) as the ruthless Navy SEAL. Still, Sollima doesn’t do anything more with that during the rest of the movie, which is certainly a missed opportunity.
A stunning cast, an excellent story and a director with experience in creating big movies. This sounds like a successful formula for “Without Remorse”, right? Not this time as this movie can’t compel you for the full run-time. If you’re on the lookout for a sensational action movie that includes strong human emotions and some of these excellent cast members, then “Creed II” (Jordan) and “Queen & Slim” (Turner-Smith) are the ones you should go for.
“Without Remorse” is now available on Amazon Prime Video.