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TOM CLANCY’S WITHOUT REMORSE movie review – Remorseless

DirectorStefano Sollima
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Luke Mitchell, Jack Kesy, Brett Gelman, Lauren London, Colman Domingo, and Guy Pearce
Movie length:
 1 hours 49 minutes

Sometimes a modern retelling brings something new and innovative to a story. This is not one of those times. Amazon Prime’s WITHOUT REMORSE is a loose (very loose if my memory serves) adaptation of the Tom Clancy book of the same name (Tom Clancy is the creator of Jack Ryan). I’ve always been a huge fan of Tom Clancy’s books (the one’s he actually wrote, not the new stuff that he supposedly co-authors) and Clark is one of the coolest characters in the series. Like the book, this movie adaptation tells his origin story, which is basically a revenge tale. Unfortunately, it seems everything else about the book has changed.

Michael B. Jordan (CREED, BLACK PANTHER) plays John Clark, an elite Navy SEAL who goes on a revenge mission when his pregnant wife is murdered. Other recognizable names include Guy Pierce (MEMENTO) and Jamie Bell (BILLY ELLIOT), who coincidentally starred with Jordan in the most recent FANTASTIC FOUR movie. Unfortunately, for a strong cast, they are given some pretty cheesy lines to deliver. Jordan is a good actor, but he is forced to deliver clunky ‘action movie’ lines that stand out for their awkwardness. He seems to turn on emotion for the line where the script says “sad because family died” or “mad because betrayed” but it doesn’t feel natural. Pierce and Bell (Bell in particular) both play their roles a bit too over the top. I found myself thinking that either they were telegraphing an obvious twist or they were trying too hard to plant red herrings in service of another twist. It got to the point where I didn’t care either way.

Photo credit: Nadja Klier © 2020 Paramount Pictures

Speaking of the plot, it doesn’t make much sense. It’s been a long time since I’ve read the book, but I remember it giving off a Punisher vibe, with Clark going off on a drug ring. The movie replaces that with a convoluted geopolitical plot that strains the bounds of logic. Some of the set-pieces are impressive from a technical standpoint (a fight in a jail cell being a standout), but how the plot gets to them makes no sense. In addition, the plans Clark comes up with are just plain dumb, which contrasts with the tactical competence of the book version of the character, which is one of his core traits.

Like the recent novels in the Clancyverse (sorry Mark Greaney, WITHOUT REMORSE is essentially a cash grab that slaps the characters’ names onto something that is inferior to the original. If you like Tom Clancy, I recommend watching Amazon Prime’s Jack Ryan series, which is a better product. However, if you just want to turn off your brain and see Michael B. Jordan kill a bunch of people, there are worse ways to spend a night. While the movie itself is disappointing, there are glimmers of promise for future stories.

TOM CLANCY’S WITHOUT REMORSE is now available on Amazon’s Prime Video Service.

Do you plan to see the movie? Have you already? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

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Darren Shulman
Darren Shulman
Darren is a professional lawyer and amateur movie/comic/TV reviewer who is lucky enough to have found a wife who is into the same geeky things he is. Darren has been making the trip from Ohio to San Diego Comic-Con since 2009. Other interests include, in no particular order: monkeys, LEGO, dinosaurs, and playing basketball poorly.

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