Without Remorse – review

Rating: 15 Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Jodie Turner-Smith, Jamie Bell and Guy Pearce Directed by Stefano Sollima Written by Taylor Sheridan, Will Staples and Tom Clancy (novel) Length: 109mins

Without Remorse tells the story of an elite Navy SEAL who uncovers an international conspiracy while trying to avenge the murder of his pregnant wife. This film is the origin story of Tom Clancy hero John Clark (Jordan), a popular character in the well known Jack Ryan universe. Torn between personal honour and loyalty to his country, Kelly targets his enemies ‘without remorse’ with hopes to avert disaster and reveal the powerful foggers behind the conspiracy. 

Immediately we are presented with a very predictable set up, you know whats coming and they take so long to do it. We start watching a questionable mission, we progress to 3 months later where several of the team are taken out and hero avoids death while his pregnant wife is killed in her sleep. This all happens within the first half hour and tells us exactly whats the IMDB bio or film description. It’s quite strange in a film of this nature to present such a long set up. Half way through there’s a lot of talking and very little action which is what most of the typical audiences of this genre would be watching for.

The prolonged set up may well be due to the fact that this is an origin story and so it’s got potential to become a franchise but this film is certainly at risk in losing audiences before any of the real action happens. In a lot of films that spend time on set up we often get some more in depth character work however in ‘Without Remorse’ they opt to just explain a lot…it doesn’t really fit into it’s genre and can come across a little boring. We spend a lot of time in nothingness; rolling around on the floor, in a hospital bed, under water etc…the music helps to build tension but I found that the further into the film we got the less patience I had for the random details that didn’t help progress the plot. It felt a bit sloppy and was frustrating. 

The actors are the best thing about this film, Michael B. Jordan is solid as you would expect, creating a likeable hero with a vendetta. He manages to create a nice balance between a kick-ass SEAL and a heartbroken husband in a situation that could have easily tipped either way. Jodie Turner-Smith plays a reliable team mate on the battle field, an engaging character who holds a high enough rank to be a decision maker as well as boots on the ground, but unfortunately she is given very little of interest to work with. Jamie Bell plays arguably the most interesting character, the audience is tasked with trying to work out which ‘side’ he’s on and Bell brings a wonderful authenticity to the role. 

Without Remorse had the potential to be a solid action film, the Jack Ryan universe has a decent reputation and the names in the film are enough to attract viewers but for some reason it just lacked. The story isn’t particularly original or interesting, and there’s a whole of lot of talking. Honestly, I would give it a miss. There are so many other good action films to choose from and this just doesn’t hit the mark. 

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