Without Remorse is the latest spin-off from the Jack Ryan series, given that post-Harrison Ford attempts to reboot the series have fallen flat with 2002’s The Sum Of All Fears, with Ben Affleck, and 2014’s Shadow Recruit, with Chris Pine.
Michael B Jordan (Creed) grunts and shouts a lot in the role of Navy SEAL John Kelly, leading with his team to rescue a hostage in Syria, but while at first they thought they were up against Syrian troops, it turns out the Russians are to blame… and you don’t want to annoy Putin et al, causing a retaliation which leaves Kelly’s wife, Pam (Lauren London), brown bread, and John grunting and shouting a lot more.
When I was just 15 minutes in and before I’d seen too much, I figured someone high up was behind this, but who? And was I right about that, and if so, was it who I thought it was? Let’s just say you don’t need too many brain cells firing away to watch this.
The main problem with this film, also referred to as Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse – given that it follows the style of the videogame titles, is that it doesn’t really do anything we haven’t seen before. I’ve not read the novel, so if Mr Clancy’s written work was word-for-word with this, then he was on autopilot. However, it’s always possible that Hollywood will have taken something great and turned it into a formulaic actioner.
This just feels so pedestrian in the direction and storytelling, with the only memorable bit being a scene where he corners one Russian bigwig in a car (it’s in both trailers if you want to see a taste of it), and you have to suspend an awful lot of belief.
Like a later episode of 24, throwing John in the clink for a certain act is filler – and just an excuse to reveal his upper torso – because it feels like he’s released five minutes later in order to go after someone else, and there’s no way and sensible government would let him do this, given how he’s looser than a loose cannon.
Of the rest of the main cast, Jodie Turner-Smith plays Lt. Commander Karen Greer, niece of Jack Ryan‘s James Greer (Wendell Pierce), giving it her best Grace Jones, with her close-cropped haircut, but the link feels like it’s just thrown in, in case they want to continue her character in that series, or any future spin-offs/sequels; Jamie Bell tries an American accent as gruff CIA chap Robert Ritter, and as much as I like Guy Pearce onscreen, his occasional performance as Secretary Clay is very ‘turned up to collect the cheque’.
Beyond that, in a film which was shot in 2019 – and so has taken quite some time to see the light of day, there’s lots of mumbling, and given that the version I watched was Without Remorse: Without Subtitles, there were a fair number of lines of dialogue I couldn’t make out. However, plot-wise, I don’t think I missed anything.
There is also a mid-credits scene… which I will add to the review on Friday when the film is released.
Without Remorse is on Amazon Prime Video from Friday April 30th, but the film isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
Running time: 109 minutes
Release date: April 30th 2021
Studio: Amazon Prime Video
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Director: Stefano Sollima
Producers: Josh Appelbaum, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Akiva Goldsman, Don Granger, Michael B Jordan, André Nemec, Charlie Woebcken
Screenplay/Story: Taylor Sheridan, Will Staples
Novel: Tom Clancy
Music: Jon Thor Birgisson
John Kelly: Michael B Jordan
Karen Greer: Jodie Turner-Smith
Robert Ritter: Jamie Bell
Secretary Clay: Guy Pearce
Pam Kelly: Lauren London
Hatchet: Jacob Scipio
Dallas: Todd Lasance
Thunder: Jack Kesy
CIA Director Dillard: Lucy Russell
Keith Webb: Cam Gigandet
Rowdy King: Luke Mitchell
Artem: Artjom Gilz
Viktor Rykov: Brett Gelman
Andre Vaseliev: Merab Ninidze
Oleksiy: Alexander Mercury
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.