Without Remorse – Film Review
by Fran Winston
Directed by: Stefano Sollima
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Luke Mitchell, Jack Kesy, Brett Gelman, Colman Domingo, Guy Pearce
Available to stream on Amazon Prime from April 30th
I was about half an hour into this film when it struck me that it felt very dated. Thinking that perhaps it was an older movie that was only hitting streaming now, I looked it up to double-check. And while it is indeed a brand new film the Tom Clancy source material was written in 1993 and the movie has been in development hell pretty much ever since (with a big-screen offering originally slated for a 1995 release) which certainly explained a lot.
Yes, it boasts a stellar cast, but the plot which sees Michael B Jordan’s former Navy SEAL John Kelly seek revenge after his wife and unborn child are murdered by a team of Russian Assassins, feels like it is straight out of the cold war era. The serious lack of female characters heightens this sense and although Turner-Smith is given more to do than just look pretty, her character feels rather tokenistic in what is essentially a testosterone fest.
While there is a market for this kind of generic and predictable retaliation flick, and Jordan does a fine job in the lead, the problem is that this gets bogged down in clunky dialogue, exposition and predictable plot twists. Without giving spoilers I can guarantee you will know the ultimate bad guy as soon as he comes on screen. And even in the middle of a shootout, the characters analyse the back story to ensure the audience knows what’s going on. The action scenes are impressive and extremely well-choreographed but that is really all that holds this together.
The thing that I found most surprising was that although this was intended to have a cinematic release it all felt very “made for TV”. The film works hard to tick all the commercial thriller boxes without trying anything new. If you are looking for a popcorn action movie without much depth then you’ll be on safe ground here.