Without Remorse

In Hollywood, ideas are rarely quickly made into movies. Several have spent eternity stuck in ‘development hell’ – the cinematic version of purgatory where stories take forever to escape. ‘Without Remorse’ knows this only too well, even though it’s based on Tom Clancy’s best-selling book. You would think the author of works featuring Jack Ryan, the agent seen in many blockbusting movies, would automatically get ‘Without Remorse’ made. Over a quarter of a century after Hollywood first purchased the rights, the film finally emerges from Tinsletown’s murky depths.

Skilled US Navy Seal John Clark (Michael B Jordan) and his team rescue a CIA operative held by ex Russian military forces. Months after this mission, Clark’s pregnant wife is murdered in retaliation. Shattered and enraged, Clark goes on the hunt for those responsible. Looking on is former Seal team member Karen Greer (Jodie Turner-Smith) and CIA agent Robert Ritter (Jamie Bell). Both attempt to stop Clark from causing an international incident with the soldier’s fury knowing no limits.

Unlike previous Tom Clancy adapted movies, ‘Without Remorse’ doesn’t have an elongated run-time. This is both a blessing and a curse. Whilst it makes the plot move incredibly fast with nary a breather between fights, it also has the effect in cutting out too many character moments. Jordan has great presence in the lead, as do his co-stars, but they aren’t served as well as they should have been by a pared-down script.

The direction and action are fine, ensuring you are pulled straight into the heat of battle. The story itself also has the usual Clancy hooks keeping you engaged. It’s unfortunate these elements are brought down to the most basic level in which it’s felt you’re only watching part of the tale instead of the whole thing. The difficulty in understanding character motivations is keenly felt because of this. Apart from Clark, there aren’t many other characters to genuinely care about despite the performer’s best efforts.

Given how long it took to appear, it’s a shame ‘Without Remorse’ wasn’t better. Despite having years in which to write one, the screenplay needed more work in filling in the emotional gaps. What’s left is a ‘greatest hits’ version of the source novel with the only remorse felt is why the film version isn’t better.

Rating out of 10: 6


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