Alice Oscura, Featured Writer
Plot: John Kelly (Michael B. Jordan) is an Elite Navy Seal who seeks revenge for the murder of his pregnant wife Pam (Lauren London) and ends up uncovering a plot to start an all-out war between the United States and Russia.
Review: Based on Tom Clancy’s 1993 novel of the same name, Without Remorse is a spin-off of the popular Jack Ryan series. Clancy is known for his military espionage infused novels whose main protagonist is always the holder of the signature double first names.
The plot of the original novel is set during the Vietnam War, however lots of liberties were taken here to reformat the story to make it more suitable to modern political climates, and I can appreciate that. However, it suffers the loss of darker, fleshed-out characters that would have delivered a bit more emotional impact as Clancy’s original story. But it was a price that they paid. The main consensus online is that the plot is generic with a been-there, seen-that-before type of scenario. However, in my humble opinion I think they are being a bit too harsh on this one.
After John Kelly’s wife is murdered, it would seem at first that the character is a bit of a loose cannon. But then you slowly begin to realise that his actions actually have some purpose behind them. While I would agree that he is a bit too fresh faced to be believable as a gritty Navy Seal who’s seen the dark side of war and terrorism, the actor tends to have a cocky persona that pushes beyond that age barrier. And because of his performance you will soon find yourself immersed in the conspiracy and action onscreen.
Also, I’ve got to take some time to mention the female Navy Seal character Karen Greer played by British-born actress and model Jodie Turner-Smith. She’s a character that has powerful ties and you would definitely want someone like that in your corner. But I couldn’t help wondering to myself why she looked so familiar to me and then halfway through I picked up on it. She reminded me of a young Grace Jones. Suffice to say I researched Turner-Smith’s background and saw that she was the product of Jamaican parents just like actress/model/singer/songwriter Grace Jones. They are literally the same height and body shape although Turner-Smith has slightly softer facial features. The similarities are uncanny.
There are some pretty cool action sequences on land and in water but don’t expect over-the-top special effects for these. It cannot be compared to its Clancy predecessors like Clear and Present Danger (1994) or The Sum of All Fears (2002) and I also think that the film suffers from studio switching and poor marketing due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The pacing is not particularly fluid and, while John Kelly’s unhinged behaviour can be a source of concern sometimes, brute force is what was needed to get the answers that his character required. The post-credits scene ends on a rather promising note by mentioning piece of the name of the second book of Clancy’s focused on the character of John Clark, formerly John Kelly.
If given a chance and better direction it can open the way for more of Tom Clancy’s John Clark novels to see the light of day onscreen with Michael B. Jordan in the main role. That would be a refreshing change from the Jack Ryan character that has been the preferred film and television adaption over the years.
Alice’s Score: 6.5 out of 10
Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump. I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. You can find me as Dark Alice Reviews on Facebook where you’ll get my reviews hot off the press. You can also find me on Instagram as alice_oscura and my Twitter handle is @lise_veliz2. For my extended bio you can click here.