Friday, April 30

Tom Clancy's Without Remorse Review

Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse

Dir: Stefano Sollima

Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Guy Pearce, Jodie Turner-Smith, and Brett Gelman
1 hr 49 min


Author Tom Clancy crafted an entire empire of stories built around behind-the-scenes military operations and C.I.A. spy games. These narratives transitioned from paper pages to silver screen summer blockbusters with the adaptation of the “Ryanverse,” a string of films built around Clancy’s heroic patriot Jack Ryan. Clancy’s legacy of espionage fiction progressed into the world of modern-day gaming at the turn of the millennium, with video games like Rainbow Six and Splinter Cell introducing a new generation to the author’s name and brand of action. 


Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse is based on the author’s 1993 novel of the same name. But instead of centering the story around Jack Ryan, this movie tells the origin story of Navy SEAL John Clark, a character familiar to the “Ryanverse” and played by Willem Dafoe in Clear and Present Danger and Liev Schrieber in The Sum of All Fears. Taking over the role for this new film franchise is Michael B. Jordan, who arrives amidst a fury of bullets and explosions with all the magnetism and tough guy qualities the actor is known to bring to a character. The methodical story style familiar to a Tom Clancy novel almost disappears in Without Remorse; this story is more concerned with the future adaptations than providing a foundation to build on. 


John Clark (Michael B. Jordan) and his extraction team are on a mission in Syria to save a captured C.I.A. operative. The mission ends up being a setup, one involving some unexpected Russian targets. Once back on American soil, the SEAL team finds themselves in the crosshairs of a shadowy group of assassins. John and his pregnant wife Pam (Lauren London) are attacked during a home invasion, John narrowly escapes, but Pam does not. Her death sends John into a fight for vengeance, leading to a mission in Russia and ultimately a master plan that goes far beyond the surface conflicts. 


Director Stefano Sollima does a decent job of composing some inventive action sequences. Writers Taylor Sheridan and Will Staples craft a character who becomes an enraged machine of sorts; no bullet or explosion will stop him. Revenge is the primary emotion of focus, and it makes John Clark feel more like John Wick. While Clancy composed John Clark as a darker version of the Jack Ryan character, there was also more emphasis on the story beyond revenge. When Without Remorse ventures into more complicated global political territory, the film becomes a mess of unnecessary and somewhat confusing plot turns. 


Michael B. Jordan carries the character with one emotional intention, revenge. And when the film allows that vengeance to take control, like in one scene where John douses a car in gasoline, sets it ablaze, and jumps in to interrogate the passenger, Without Remorse entertainingly comes to life. But the film has difficulty sustaining the tension achieved during the fierier moments. 


The film has a good cast. Jodie Turner-Smith plays John’s military ally, Karen Greer. Jamie Bell arrives as the duplicitous C.I.A. higher-up Robert Ritter; they do a good job, but the film doesn’t seem too concerned with exploring their characters. Even Jordan’s lead hero isn’t provided much exploration beyond the initial emotions that define the qualities of the character until the end. It’s not completely bad, but it’s not entirely satisfying.


Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse is just the beginning of the John Clark saga of stories coming in the future. While this film may serve as a passable action vessel for Michael B. Jordan to introduce the Clancy character, the hope is that future installments will allow more growth beyond this initial offering.


Monte’s Rating

2.50 out of 5.00

No comments:

Post a Comment