Promises us an action-packed revenge thriller
TOM CLANCY'S WITHOUT REMORSE (2021)
Tom Clancy's name has been associated with many movies, television shows, and video games in the past. I'm not an avid book reader or anything but I do enjoy a solid Tom Clancy political espionage story. Mainly when it involves my man Sam Fisher in the Splinter Cell video game series. Based on its trailers, Without Remorse (based on one of his most popular novels) promises us an action-packed revenge thriller with a few hints of sabotage and betrayal. This is more or less exactly what we get albeit with Michael B. Jordan's considerable charm and action lead prowess to keep this thriller above average.
Director Stefano Sollima (Sicario: Day of the Soldado) really knows how to direct action scenes. That became evident very early on with a hostage rescue scene that is well filmed and even a little tense. When it comes to the rest of the action, it stays just as solid throughout. My problem though is the pacing. I feel the movie gets too weighed down in its political wrapping that we don't get as much of the action movie candy that is the better part of the movie. This wouldn't be a huge problem if the scenes of characters talking about their next move or plans were interesting which they are not. This is mainly because of how bland the dialogue and characters are throughout. I'll get to this more in the acting section but John Kelly (Michael B. Jordan) is honestly the only character you really get to know in this movie. Sollima is great with action but he seems to not care much about his characters or any of the political stuff that is so common in Clancy's stories. Even with a basic script like this, I feel like a great director could get more out of their actors to make these characters more memorable. Sadly, that's not the case here. Good action though!
A very basic revenge action thriller with a couple of twists and turns but not much else to separate it from almost every other movie of its type. It's so basic that you can look at the cast list and immediately know who's going to betray who just because certain actors get typecasted as the villain a lot. Even the inciting incident at the beginning of the movie that sets the revenge story in motion is done so quickly that you barely feel anything for John and his plight. As formulaic and unsurprising as the plot is, it's at least told well enough to keep me from being completely uninterested. I don't find the plot to be as confusing as some have been finding it so it's told well enough it's just very standard.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
As I said above, the only character we actually get to know is our main character, John Kelly. If any character should be developed, it's our main character and Michael B. Jordan does his best to make us truly care for his mission. He's not a deep character but you do feel for him mainly because of how charming Jordan is as an actor. Little moments of great acting from Jordan help us relate to John Kelly. Michael B. Jordan carried the film because the rest of the cast felt like they were sleepwalking. Jodie Turner-Smith, Jamie Bell, and Guy Pearce all do fine jobs but you never, ever get to know them at all. Again, the acting isn't the problem, it's the bland and forgettable characters. Jordan is the life preserver because, without him, this movie would sink when it comes to its characters.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
Visually, nothing truly stands out as amazing. Well, besides for a shirtless Jordan that makes me feel bad about myself. The few moments of special effects look solid with a plane crash being the biggest set piece involving effects. While it is Rated R, there isn't a ton of violence so in terms of gore effects, there's very little to talk about. Action is filmed very well so all of the muzzle flashes and explosions do look good. Standard stuff but it works well for me to see no real faults in it.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The most disappointing kind of score is the kind that doesn't amplify any part of a scene and ends up being completely forgettable. It's standard and technically isn't bad but none of it really adds to any of the drama or action in the movie which is a cardinal sin in my eyes. The score is there and that's about it. The only reason I'd give this a half is for the sound design. All of the guns and explosions sounded great! Give the foley artists a huge pat on the back because they went above and beyond.
Tom Clancy's Without Remorse relies on the charm of its star and the well-shot action scenes more so than its boilerplate political plot that's been done time and time again. The movie even sets up a sequel in a post-credits scene that felt pretty tacked on but what it promises might be a little exciting for Clancy fans. Especially if you enjoy a certain video game franchise with Tom Clancy's name is on it.
Launching Globally on Prime Video April 30th, 2021