MICHAEL B. Jordan is one of the more charismatic young black actors visible today. He played a lead role in the “Creed” movies and a villain role in “Black Panther”. He now stars in the action drama, “Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse”, which uses the name of Tom Clancy but the story has been totally rewritten without remorse.
It is now modernized and is so far away from the original 1993 novel that uses the Vietnam War as its setting. Jordan plays John Kelly, a character who’s part of Tom Clancy’s universe that became popular with the Jack Ryan novels/movies. Kelly has previously appeared in Jack Ryan movies, but played by white actors: Willem Dafoe in “Clear and Present Danger” and Liev Schreiber in “The Sum of All Fears”.
Now, he is African American and a U.S. Navy Seal. “Without Remorse” starts in Aleppo, Syria, where Navy Seals were sent on a mission to rescue a CIA operative held captive by a pro-Assad group. But John Kelly and his Seals find out that the captors are not Syrians but actually Russian soldiers.
They succeed in their mission but sometime later, members of the Seals team are murdered by Russian operatives who also break into Kelly’s home, killing his pregnant wife. Kelly gets to kill their attackers except for one. He is almost fatally wounded but is rescued, taken to the hospital and fights hard until he fully rehabilitates himself.
It’s now time for vengeance without remorse. He gets the name of a Russian diplomat who helped the hitmen who killed his colleagues. He succeeds in finding out the name of the remaining murderer who attacked his home, Victor Rykov. He then goes to Russia with his own team to seek Rykov and the story becomes even more complicated. There is a big twist involving a covert plot and betrayal in high places that aims to sow discord and push U.S. and Russia to clash in a deadly world war.
The movie is helmed by Stefano Sollima, the Italian director who did “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” and the current hit TV series “ZeroZeroZero”. When it comes to the action scenes, “Without Remorse” gets the job done and really delivers as there are a lot of thrilling set pieces. Particularly exciting is the climax where Kelly is besieged by what looks like an entire city police force while he is all on his own.
Jordan is really an amazing action star as he dominates the screen and you cannot take your eyes off him. He is superbly supported by Jodie Turner Smith as his immediate boss, Lt. Commander Greer; Jamie Bell as Ritter, a shadowy CIA officer you’d suspect to be a villain; and Guy Pearce as the U.S. Secretary of Defense who has dark schemes of his own.
If the movie were shown in theatres before the pandemic, we’re sure it would have been a big franchise hit, just like the past Tom Clancy movies. It’s obvious they were expecting this because the end credits show a special preview for a sequel, with John Kelly surviving yet another threat to his life and being given a new identity as John Clark who’d probably do the 1998 sequel of Tom Clancy entitled “Rainbow Six”. But since it was mainly shown on Amazon streaming, we doubt if they’d still film that intended sequel.