By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
It would seem like a Tom Clancy novel adaptation would come across as a Cold War relic, but the filmmakers behind this take on his novel have chosen a more modern spin on the action/thriller. Though this movie mostly works well enough, I feel that, had they kept its setting within the time it is originally set, it would have a greater impact on its audience. That issue, along with the fact that the filmmakers don’t take the time and care to properly develop their characters and story, hold this movie back from being an amazing thiller and one with a more definitive relevance. That said; I still managed to feel compelled and moved by this simplistic revenge story, but that is certainly due to the passionate and charismatic performance by lead actor Michael B. Jordan.
Jordan stars as US Naval Seal Senior Chief John Clark. Though Clark is a skilled warrior, he is ready to retire and settle down with his wife and expectant mother Pam (Lauren London). After his last mission goes worse than expected, he is more than ready to leave his harrowng life behind. However, because that particular mission has some problematic results on modern relations between Russia and the US, Clark is not able to retire quietly and comfortably. The Russian survivors of said mission seek revenge on the Naval Seals involved and start eliminating them. When the attack on Clark occurs, he manages to survive, but that cannot be said about his wife Pam and his unborn child. This tragic incident sets Clark on a path of revenge, but there are much more political issues to this situation than Clark originally realized.
With an adapted screenplay by Taylor Sheridan and Will Staples, director Stefano Sollima delivers an intriguing, but definitely under-cooked movie that feels a bit rushed and restrained. I have actually never read this particular novel by Clancy, but I do know that the ones I have read usually do not lack the necessary details and development to tell more fully realized stories. That said; this film does have its compelling qualities and the action is solid, tense, and palpable, but there are some necessary missing elements in the writing and direction to make this film a completely satisfying movie.
As I previously stated, Michael B. Jordan performs wonderfully, as he is in a much better movie. His passion and charm really helps sell this film and kept me emotionally invested. The movie also features solid work by Jamie Bell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Guy Pearce, and Lauren London. I feel like all of the actors in this movie brought some talent and commitment to their roles, but obviously perform as if they are in a much better film.
And even though this adaptation has its weaknesses and limitations, I feel that it is solid enough of a start to a potential franchise. With better writing and a better director, John Clark could have himself a great series of movies that could rival that of Clancy’s more recognizable character Jack Ryan. However, in order to pull this off, any further installments will have to be much better. The movie is good enough, though, that I give it a moderate recommendation. Without Remorse is now available for streaming via Amazon Prime.