Tom Clancy's Without Remorse Movie Review
I’m a sucker for Jack Ryan, even when Jack Ryan isn’t in the movie. From Hunt to Red October to, yes, even The Sum of All Fears, the franchise has delivered compelling, grounded stories coupled with immense entertainment factor. Amazon’s Jack Ryan series has largely continued the trend. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit was the franchise’s only real miss.
Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse, a spin-off focused on John Clark, a character I most directly associate with Willem Dafoe (it should be noted that as much of a sucker as I am for Jack Ryan, I’ve only read part of one of Clancy’s books). Without Remorse, which depicts John Clark’s “origin,” plays like a much grimmer and better made Shadow Recruit, and even I’m not entirely sure whether that is an insult or compliment.
The always-fierce Michael B. Jordan takes on the character, an excellent casting choice for director Stefano Sollima’s potential franchise starter. Jordan does angry well, and he looks absolutely fantastic when shirtless, or so says my wife (okay, okay, I agree), though his version of Clark comes off as a duller, or at least more generic, version of Killmonger.
Without Remorse features some stellar, well-choreographed action scenes, though the gritty nature of the film somewhat dampens the entertainment factor. Clark is like a darker version of Jack Ryan by design, but you have to wonder if Sollima had aimed more for the level of seriousness found in the Bourne films would we have ended up with something a bit more engrossing.
There’s just something that doesn’t quite elevate Without Remorse to blockbuster status. The screenplay, co-written by one of my favorite filmmakers Taylor Sheridan (Hell and High Water, Wind River, Sicario), is fine, but the story feels like a thousand other generic revenge/spy thrillers where things happen but you don’t feel the need to try too hard to understand what’s happening. The villain, if there is one (I’ve already forgotten), is, well, instantly forgettable, further depressing Without Remorse’s potential.
Despite all of those issues, Without Remorse is just good enough to watch. It’s a flawed film, and not necessarily one I feel the need to revisit anytime soon, but with the o
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.