This is an interesting film to review. Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse is the worst film I’ve seen based on a Tom Clancy novel, but it’s still a decent flick. While I expected to get a 90s throwback action flick, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. The Jack Ryan series is incredible and I was expecting something similar. Instead, we got a film with a great story, amazing star, a decent supporting cast, and horrible pacing.
Let’s start with the good. The story is amazing, but I may be biased as I love all things Tom Clancy. I’m hopeful that this film does well enough that we get more stories around the character of John Clark. I’ll be there to watch all of them, especially with Michael B. Jordan as the lead. He definitely made the film as good as it was, in fact he did everything he could to try and make it a 5-star film. He was let down by those around him.
The rest of the cast was decent, but there were no standouts. Jodie Turner-Smith did the best that she could with the character she had, but there wasn’t much to work with. I feel like her character had more depth in The Last Ship. Other than that, I’m not even sure if I’d recognize other cast members if I were to see them again. They were all so insignificant and half the scenes were horribly lit.
Another standout of the film were the actions scenes (although they felt far and few between). I was really impressed with the quality of them and the way they played out. I wouldn’t have been surprised given it was a Tom Clancy story, but I was given the way the film was playing out. Then I noticed in the press notes that they had a military consultant for the duration of filming.
Clancy’s books were extremely popular when I was in the military, in large part because he was so knowledgeable about the subject matter. And that was important on this project, because one of the things that separates a good movie from a bad one is the way the characters handle their weapons, carry themselves, and the verbiage they use. If it’s not realistic, it instantly takes me out of the experience.
James Denver, retired Marine sergeant major / film consultant
Jim was with us from the very beginning until the end of production. He advised us on everything that was military- and government- related. We also had a former SEAL with us during the Aleppo battle sequence, and of course all of the cast members participated in a military-style boot camp where they trained in the use of weapons.
Stefano Sollima, director
So, if I like several aspects of the film, why the 3.5-star rating? There are two primary reasons. The first is the pacing of the film. For this, I blame Sollima as the director, but also because I had similar issues with SICARIO: Day of the Soldado, another film Sollima directed. There were times when I paused the film just to check how far in I was and realized that much less time than I had expected had passed. Once again, the story setup just felt like it was taking forever. Then the action happens with so little time left that you feel like they had to compress it. When I’m sold on an action film, I want action from start to finish and I didn’t feel like I got it.
The bigger problem was the sound. Originally, I watched the film with my TV speakers, but I had to turn up the volume louder than I ever have before to hear the dialogue. Unfortunately, that meant that any gunfire or explosions were painfully loud, there was no happy-medium. Then I tried stereo headphones for the second half of the film. While it was easier to hear the dialogue at lower volumes that didn’t make the gunfire heart-attack inducing, this further demonstrated issues with the mixing. There’s a scene at the end of the film, where a character is sitting in a restaurant and a story is playing on the news. The reporters voice is mixed in a very weird way that wasn’t bad, but downright spine tingling… I almost couldn’t watch the scene because the sound caused me physical pain. Thankfully that was a minor point.
So, what’s the verdict on the movie? You want to watch it. It’s Michael B. Jordan and a Tom Clancy story. That makes it interesting enough to watch… just be prepared for bad audio and pacing. If you go in expecting that, you might be ok.
Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse will be available on Prime Video on Friday, April 30.
Tom Clancy's Without Remorse
Movie title: Tom Clancy's Without Remorse
Movie description: An elite Navy SEAL uncovers an international conspiracy while seeking justice for the murder of his pregnant wife in Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse, the explosive origin story of action hero John Clark – one of the most popular characters in author Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan universe. When a squad of Russian soldiers kills his family in retaliation for his role in a top-secret op, Sr. Chief John Kelly (Michael B. Jordan) pursues the assassins at all costs. Joining forces with a fellow SEAL (Jodie Turner-Smith) and a shadowy CIA agent (Jamie Bell), Kelly’s mission unwittingly exposes a covert plot that threatens to engulf the U.S. and Russia in an all-out war. Torn between personal honor and loyalty to his country, Kelly must fight his enemies without remorse if he hopes to avert disaster and reveal the powerful figures behind the conspiracy.
Date published: 2021-04-30
Director(s): Stefano Sollima
Actor(s): Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Lauren London, Brett Gelman, Jacob Scipio, Jack Kesy, Colman Domingo, Todd Lassance, Cam Gigandet, Luke Mitchell, Guy Pearce
Genre: Action, Thriller
White Knuckle Flick