An elite Navy SEAL uncovers an international conspiracy while seeking justice for the murder of his pregnant wife in Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse, the explosive origin story of action hero John Clark – one of the most popular characters in author Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan universe. When a squad of Russian soldiers kills his family in retaliation for his role in a top-secret op, Sr. Chief John Kelly (Michael B. Jordan) pursues the assassins at all costs. Joining forces with a fellow SEAL (Jodie Turner-Smith) and a shadowy CIA agent (Jamie Bell), Kelly’s mission unwittingly exposes a covert plot that threatens to engulf the U.S. and Russia in an all-out war. Torn between personal honor and loyalty to his country, Kelly must fight his enemies without remorse if he hopes to avert disaster and reveal the powerful figures behind the conspiracy.
Adapted from the popular 90’s video game franchise series, Michael B. Jordan (Creed) takes on another role displaying his physical prowess as John Kelly/Clark in Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse. Initially, it’s difficult to think of another performer in Hollywood that could measure up to such casting with the same talent as this current superstar. In this film, Jordan displays his unique physical abilities to command a room and take out any foe that crosses his path.
If you’re an action junkie like myself, this film is right up your alley. As soon as it starts you’re thrown into a foreign land with Jordan on the move doing what he does best. Kicking butt! It’s a great way to start things off, pulling you in as an audience member not knowing what enemy is around the corner, whether that enemy has the latest machine gun or rocket launcher to blow your body into pieces, and the tone sets the level of intensity you’re about to embark on.
Early on in the film, and as the trailers suggest, not everything and everyone is what they appear to be on the surface, and that’s one of the elements that makes this feature as entertaining as it is. It’s a guessing game of who’s who at pulling the strings and calling all the shots. Whether it’s soldiers in your unit or the powers that be in Washington, someone is running a conspiracy, and good men and women are being played like a game of chess; which keeps you at the edge of your seat until the inevitable credits start to roll.
During firefights the level of danger is high, and there are a few instances that you’re curious to know how Jordan will make it out of his current predicament alive which raises the stakes for your enjoyment. Know that going in if you wanted to see Jordan lay the smackdown on the opposition, rest assured that you’ll get what the doctor ordered.
Now while Jordan may have the physicality down, unfortunately, his character John doesn’t measure up to the same level of interest. After all the great performances that Jordan has had in his career, it’s sad to say that this is his weakest. It’s not terrible by any means, but there’s not much to remember either. Right now he is grieving the loss of his pregnant wife Pam (Lauren London) via execution, and he’s rightfully in outrage and out for blood. Any rational human being would understand this and be right there by John’s side in support. However, having the acting come across as convincing so the audience can relate to such an atrocity just isn’t there in Jordan’s performance. It seemed like he was overacting or just trying to come across as angry without knowing the reason why. It was very jarring, to say the least, as he attempts to express his frustrations. It’s the same with his co-star Jodie Turner-Smith, who plays Karen. It was difficult to take her role seriously as her character came across as playing dress-up as a NAVY seal instead of being the real thing. To give credit where it’s due, Smith did deliver the goods during her action scenes, leaving me impressed, but the performance and line delivery was faulty, to say the least.
The lackluster performances could be due to director Stefano Sollima not being able to generate that from his cast, seeing as both co-stars have done phenomenal work in the past. So who’s to blame is a mystery and a massive letdown. Sollima was able to create intense action scenes whether that was on the battlefield or within close combat in a residence’s home. Early in the film, he used a flashlight rotating on the floor during a battle, and that was a standout of his directorial creativity.
The last questions that need to be addressed are who and why these sequences of events are taking place. When it’s finally revealed it wasn’t predictable, but the reasoning behind it all was extremely anticlimactic. A more thought-out plot device would’ve been more appreciated especially when two major countries are about to take part in a war. However, with all of those complaints, it doesn’t take away from the positives of the film, which boils down to the action and the promise for more sequels. As a fan of these types of genres, I would love to see more in future projects, and deep down I feel that we have a new worthy franchise on our hands within the world of action-adventure thrillers. So if the edges are trimmed up to a degree and polished thoroughly the world could eventually be looking at the first critical and commercial successes when it comes to video game adaptations.