As a character, John proves to be more alluring than Ryan, with a backstory so harrowing that it makes you want to root for the good guy without even trying. But if you try to look into the reasons for his actions, you’ll find the plot dissipating over time to involve larger ethical questions about the futility of war and the dirt involved in politics.
Riveting action sequences, a vehement desire for revenge and complicated plots that unearth important secrets - the elements of a Tom Clancy movie adaptation are set in stone. Stefano Sollima’s Without Remorse, the latest addition to the Tom Clancy Ryanverse legacy, delves into the origin story of John Clark (Michael B. Jordan). Though the film touches upon all aspects that promise a stellar Tom Clancy reboot, it does not quite match up to the epitome of his movie adaptations.
The film puts the audience right in the middle of action from the very beginning. It opens with John Clark, a former Navy SEAL then known as John Kelly, guiding his men through a hostage rescue mission in Syria. As typical of all action movies, an unexpected skirmish occurs and John loses a man from his team. The film then cuts to a timeline three months later where John is in a setting starkly different from the one the audience just saw him in - he’s enjoying a barbecue with his friends and his pregnant wife, blissfully unaware of the dangers that lurk around him. Soon enough, his world turns upside down when his wife and unborn child are murdered by unknown assailants who ignite in him a thirst for revenge.
The guilt of having survived even after being shot multiple times and the loss of his beloved is paired with the CIA mandating that all investigations in his case be terminated. Unable to understand the reasons behind this development, John decides to step out of the bounds of his duty and avenge his wife’s murder. The plot then progresses to showcase John’s transformation from a loyal Navy SEAL to a man who is craving vengeance.
Over the course of the film, the audience will lose count of how many bodies John ruthlessly puts bullets through. Ultimately, after a series of plot twists and secret reveals, Clark ends up in Russia to take out the ones who killed his wife.
Jordan’s performance as Clark is spectacular - he embodies the hurt of a man having lost his wife while executing brutal action scenes. As a character, John proves to be more alluring than Ryan, with a backstory so harrowing that it makes you want to root for the good guy without even trying. But if you try to look into the reasons for his actions, you’ll find the plot dissipating over time to involve larger ethical questions about the futility of war and the dirt involved in politics. By the time you can answer these questions for yourself, the plot has already progressed without having made any real instigation into these fleeting concepts.
Though the events of the film become foreseeable after a point, it is the character of Karer Green, played by Jodie Turner-Smith, who keeps things fresh. A powerful female lead who is a contemporary of Clark, Greer almost overshadows Clark to become a more loved character.
Without Remorse is by no means the best Tom Clancy adaptation out there, but it will definitely prove to be an engaging watch for action-lovers. The plot seems a little weak at times but Jordan and Turner-Smith are able to redeem the film.