Review: Thriller ‘Without Remorse’ Brings Clancy Novel Star To Amazon Prime

Apr 30, 2021, 10:50 AM | Updated: 10:57 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Back in the late 1980s it seemed like everyone was walking around reading one Tom Clancy book or another. Starting in the early ’90s we began to see several of those novels adapted for the big screen and with some big names playing main character Jack Ryan: Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck and Chris Pine have all taken a turn.

We’ve even got John Krasinski playing him now in an ongoing streaming series. But in the new movie “Without Remorse” from Paramount Pictures and Amazon Studios, we finally meet another character from that world: Senior Chief John Kelly (played here by rising star Michael B. Jordan.)

Kelly is the best and most talented soldier in his Navy SEAL unit and we see his skills on display immediately in the film as he leads a rescue mission into Syria that, to his surprise and disdain, ends up being more than what his team was told to expect. Plus, the mission apparently upset some powerful people in Russia, so when an attempt on Kelly’s life three months later misses him and takes out a loved one instead, Kelly wants revenge.

But his quest is complicated by CIA interference and lots of classified intelligence secrets that some people don’t want him stumbling on to. Long-time readers of Clancy’s novels will recognize the character of CIA agent Robert Ritter (played by Jamie Bell) and movie fans will recognize Guy Pearce as Defense Secretary Thomas Clay.

“Without Remorse” is a fairly standard action/mystery/thriller movie that does still manage to have some pretty enjoyable action scenes and some tense, exciting moments. Nothing in the script by writers Taylor Sheridan and Will Staples is so unique that you won’t see it coming, but they do a good job updating the 1993 Clancy novel from the Vietnam War era to the 2020s. And Italian director Stefano Sollima (“Sicario: Day of the Soldado”) creates some better-than-average action scenes and firefights, as well as a tension-filled plane crash into enemy waters.

The highlight of the movie for me was Michael B. Jordan, who looks every bit the action-movie star in this film, right down to his ripped physique. Though the character of John Clark, at least as written here, doesn’t have near the nuance or require the same acting chops as some of Jordan’s other recent big-screen roles, when he snaps into action it feels like it was written just for Jordan.

A few warnings, though. Foul language was minimal, but the movie is rated R for violence, both military-style firefights and hand-to-hand combat. The run time of 1 hour and 50 minutes actually seemed to move rather quickly for me. Perhaps that was due to the fairly straightforward nature of the plot. The few twists and turns that the story took were the same kinds you’ve seen in many other political thrillers, and most viewers will see them coming a mile away.

Nevertheless, fans of the action/mystery genre and fans of Tom Clancy’s novels will probably enjoy “Without Remorse.” While it’s not that original in either story or execution, it still has enough promising moments to make it worth a watch. I give it TWO AND A HALF out of FOUR stars. Oh, and a heads up: There is a mid-credits scene that long-time Tom Clancy fans will want to make sure they stick around for.

As for where to watch it — “Without Remorse” is NOT being released to theaters. It is an Amazon Prime exclusive, which means you have to have a subscription to Amazon Prime — which costs $8.99/month for streaming video only, or $12.99/month for streaming video and free two-day shipping on most Amazon.com orders.

Hopefully you & your family found this review helpful. I invite you to check out some of my other in-depth reviews of movies and streaming TV shows on KSLTV.com.

Andy Farnsworth reviews movies & streaming TV shows for KSL TV. He also hosts the “Fan Effect” pop culture podcast for KSL NewsRadio.

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Review: Thriller ‘Without Remorse’ Brings Clancy Novel Star To Amazon Prime