Written by Taylor Baker
Entirely absent of something personal being told, as well as the feeling of something much bigger than us. The successful run that the 1990’s and early 2000’s Clancy films leaned on were the pendulum like stakes in which a possible looming threat becomes more devastating because of its personal consequences to our main character. The beginning of The Hunt for Red October when Baldwin is experiencing family difficulties carry through every scene, making the implications of a nuclear submarine have the direct consequence of the life of a small child that wants a teddy bear.
Without Remorse expends little energy on these storytelling motifs and instead gives us a dime a dozen hatchet job exposition to set loose the fury of our main character, John Clark (Michael B. Jordan). After conveniently killing every baddie in an encounter he and his compatriots go home and start living life like usual until their all assassinated besides Michael B. Jordan’s ‘John Clark’. Whose pregnant wife was gunned down. It sounds like a plot choice that should have impact, but it doesn’t linger. In no scene after the killing did I feel impacted by or sense the devastation of these numerous killing.
Jamie Bell and Guy Peirce take turns feigning the bad guy, and the big reveal occurs just where you’d expect, when Jordan’s ‘John Clark’ encounters that one baddie he didn’t kill. The cinematography is clean, but it lacks any sign of a director’s autership, looking instead like a glossy high end commercial. Jordan carries as much weight as his well muscled back can hold but in the end Without Remorse lacks ingenuity, sincerity, and meaning. Until they bring the humanity back into the Clancy films, I expect we’ll see middling fare like this get released bearing his name. Amazon should look back at what made Jack Ryan the Prime Streaming Series work and double down on that formula.
Without Remorse Trailer
Without Remorse is currently streaming on Prime Video
You can follow more of Taylor’s work on Letterboxd and Rotten Tomatoes.