"Revenge is a dish best served cold," Khan tells Captain Kirk, in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." That film also featured Spock, an alien being who otherwise, was not capable of human emotion. Spock would have had what it takes to star in "Tom Clancy's Without Remorse," since showing emotion is not a prerequisite. Its subject, played by Michael B. Jordan, is a ruthless, cold and unfeeling individual who kills, kills, kills as he tries to hunt down his wife's murderer.
"Without Remorse" is a revenge tale not just served cold, but without any spice or flavor. It's a bland genre entry that renders its star useless. And come to think of it, Spock would have never touched this film, seeing how monumentally illogical the whole thing is.
"Tom Clancy's Without Remorse" is - shocker! - based on the novel by the late Tom Clancy, the man responsible for bringing us political-thriller action hero, Jack Ryan. Ryan has had quite a bumpy ride on the big-screen, with some hits ("The Hunt for Red October," "Clear and Present Danger") and some misses ("The Sum of All Fears"). "Without Remorse" isn't a Jack Ryan story at all, focusing instead on a second-tier Clancy hero, Navy SEAL John Kelly (Jordan).
Jordan plays Kelly as a staunch, tough SOB, who is rendered numb after his wife is brutally murdered. I didn't read the book, but reading about the book, this movie doesn't seem to be anything but loosely based on it. There is a curious campaign to ignite a world-wide war and Kelly gets caught in the middle of things, saying tough-guy lines and bashing bad-guy skulls like a faceless protagonist in a 1980s video game.
The direction by Stefano Sollima ("Sicario: Day of the Soldado") is uninspired at best, and the whole thing feels like a copy of a copy of a copy. It's also a bit more violent and real than one might expect, and for no good reason. None of this violence has an edge to it, and it makes for a painful experience, both for the characters in the film and for those watching at home.
Tom Clancy might have preferred if the filmmakers would have just called this one "Without Remorse" instead of "Tom Clancy's Without Remorse." It's not exactly fair to stick Clancy with the blame when this dark, dreary, doom-and-gloom misadventure strays so entirely far from his original mark. Jordan, the audience and Clancy all deserve better.
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller.
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Jodie Turner-Smith, Guy Pearce, Jamie Bell, Lauren London.
Based on the book by Tom Clancy.
Screenplay co-written by Taylor Sheridan and Will Staples.
Directed by Stefano Sollima ("Sicario: Day of the Soldado," "Suburra").
"Tom Clancy's Without Remorse" is on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, April 30th, 2021.
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