Movie Review: Without Remorse

Michael B. Jordan in a check-the-boxes revenge flick

Without Remorse (2021)

Amazon Prime Video; 3 / 5

The inevitable movie version of Tom Clancy’s 1993 novel of the same name. There has been neither a controlling producer nor studio for adaptations of Clancy’s work, which means there’s no substantive “universe” to the films and the filmmakers can go almost any direction and be fine. This may frustrate book fans, but I have to admit that it lets new people get into the Clancyverse without needing a boatload of backstory. The only thing that ties this one to anything bigger is that the Special Ops team leader (and this being a Clancy story, you’re not surprised that there’s a Special Ops team, are you?) is Jim Greer’s daughter. If you’re a book fan, that’s your Easter egg. If you don’t care, it’s just quick character-building and that’s that. And that’s okay.

That’s okay because this is ultimately a Michael B. Jordan action-hero movie. He’s got the chops for this sort of gig, and does a credible revenge smolder throughout. He’s also got the build for it. If you can believe it, Black Panther was three years ago now, so Jordan here is mid-30s instead of barely-30s, which makes all the difference. He’s cut like a thoroughbred racehorse, and the inevitable “taking his shirt off” scene is eyebrow-raising regardless of your persuasion. 

He also handles the action with gusto. While he’s solid, the action is unfortunately where the movie breaks down. The usual fistfights and gunfights are staged with workmanlike (as opposed to artistic) efficiency, but the movie is in too much of a hurry to blow stuff up and make with the shooting, so the adaptation of Clancy’s plot is barely there. The story is not in any way surprising, and telegraphs all the moves (and I mean all the moves, including some stuff that’s just unforgivably lazy). Is it a fun actioner? Fun enough for a slow Friday night. But it’s barely trying, so only the once.  

3 stars of 5: I liked it, but don’t care enough to watch it again.