Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse

At the Movies Blog

Two actors that look great in their roles — Jodi Turner-Smith and Michael B. Jordan.

The title of this movie is stupid. Now, I’ve never been a fan of movie titles that have the writer’s name — Tyler Perry’s Acrimony, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, etc. Yet the studio wants us to think this isn’t just some dumb action picture, it was written by Tom Clancy (although the cerebral stuff he sometimes puts into his political thrillers is lacking here). I also have a problem with the “Without Remorse” part of the title, as I had lots of remorse about having to sit through this garbage.

The screenplay is by Will Staples and Taylor Sheridan (whose Wind River and Hell or High Water I loved). It’s directed by Stefano Sollima (whose Sicario: Day of the Soldado I hated). 

Michael B. Jordan has the muscles and tough guy attitude, and was the right choice for the lead in this. This is one of those movies, like a few recently, that feel like something we saw in the ‘80s. It’s filled with political cliches and obvious twists. 

John Kelly (Jordan) is in Syria. He’s a Navy SEAL involved in a mission that doesn’t go well. He wasn’t given all the details and some of his team die. He retires, and we see him doting on his pregnant wife Pam (Lauren London). And just as I said with Morgan Freeman as the retired cop in Vanquish, you wonder how he can afford the house he’s living in. After all, he’s working for a private security company to pay the bills. 

Russian soldiers break into this beautiful house at night. He happened to stay up late listening to tunes with headphones, so he doesn’t hear much. My wife pointed out the fact that they were breaking in at 9:45 p.m. She asked, “Aren’t most people awake at that time? Neighbors even, who could see something.”

It’s when they knock out the power (while wearing night vision goggles), that he sees something. His computer and music are no longer on. 

The wife is killed and now Kelly needs to find out what’s going on, all while keeping tensions between the U.S. and Russia from leading to an all-out war (again, what year is this?).

His character is one-dimensional and rather uninteresting. 

Jodi Turner-Smith (Queen & Slim) plays an interesting character who works with Kelly and has his back. She has the perfect vibe for beauty and brawn. 

At one point, with all the explosions and gun fights, I started to wonder how much it cost to make a movie like this. I also wondered if there is any age I could have been, to enjoy watching it. I don’t think even as a kid, I would’ve cared about it. It was all rather dull.

Even scenes that we’ve seen in other movies, that were exciting in those films — just don’t work here. One of those has him crashing a tow truck into a car, pouring gas all over it, lighting it on fire, then getting inside to get information from the bad guy. Another has an airplane crashing into the water, with the crew trying to escape. The ending involves a car going off the bridge into the water. None of it put you on the edge of your seat or was that interesting to watch unfold.

An actor we all love, Guy Pearce, shows up but doesn’t add all that much. I did think Jamie Bell’s character was kind of interesting, albeit also cliche.

There’s one scene where Kelly, while in jail, floods the cell and puts water all over his body, so the guards trying to tackle him will slip. I liked that scene so much more in Bronson (Tom Hardy).

Not only did the story and characters feel like something out of an ‘80s movie, so did the keyboard-heavy soundtrack.

This gets 1 ½ stars out of 5, and you can catch it on Amazon.

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