Without Remorse is yet another installment in the long-spanning Tom Clancy film series. Tom Clancy properties are insanely popular and as many of you know have spanned into films, TV series, and even video games.
The past few years have given us multiple interactions of the Jack Ryan character, which I believe Harrison Ford’s films are still the best on-screen depiction of that character.
This time around we are introduced to the origin story of John Clark.
Clark is a prominent character in many of the older adaptations of Jack Ryan’s stories. And is also considered to be Clancy’s second most popular character behind Ryan.
2021’s Without Remorse gives us the franchise’s first Black lead
Clark has been portrayed by Willem Dafoe and Liev Schreiber in the past. Michael B. Jordan takes over in the role making him the first Black lead in these films and the first Black actor to take on the John Clark role.
Now of course that is breaking barriers for the series in its own right, but he also served as one of the main producers of the film so it’s nice to see that he had a vision for this film and created the opportunity for himself to star in this film.
Like any Tom Clancy movie, this is a film full of espionage and high octane action. Now Clark’s character is presented as a more brutal and by any means necessary type of character which is a stark contrast from Jack Ryan who plays more by the rules and is subdued to an extent.
So the action in this film outweighs the mystery and suspense. The plot really doesn’t give you much to think about. You’ll know exactly where this film is going.
The story, Lauren London, and tributes to Nipsey
The story centers around Clark trying to avenge the murder of his pregnant wife, Pam, played by Lauren London, who returns to acting in this film after taking a hiatus following the death of Nipsey Hussle. His music is prominent in the promotional material for the movie.
As time goes on, Clark and his crew unveil a larger conspiracy between the United States and Russia. The cast is rounded out by Jodie Turner-Smith as the squad leader, Jamie Bell, and Guy Pearce who of course plays the most Guy Pearce villain he could. It’s kind of his thing at this point. You know what I’m talking about if you’ve seen him in any movie. But it’s a stellar cast.
With that being said, the acting takes a tremendous backseat here. I wouldn’t say that it’s bad but it isn’t anything to write home about. Now I know a lot of people have been criticizing it. But for the type of film this is, the acting is serviceable. You don’t watch a film like this for amazing acting. You watch it for the thrills and action and on that front this film still delivers.
Michael B. Jordan is an absolute star
Jordan is excellent in the role. He even also did his own stunts for this film which is becoming a trademark for him. He’s probably one of the most physically demanding actors of our time seeing how he’s able to transform his body for roles in Creed, Black Panther, and now Without Remorse.
He’s proven that he’s willing to put his body through pressure in order to service the story. And I feel like he should be commended for it. We’ve seen actors like Hugh Jackman get praised for transforming their bodies, for Wolverine in Jackman’s case over 20 years. Black actors like Jordan should also get those same flowers.
The set pieces in the film are phenomenal. From the plane scene to the prison scene where Clark fends off hordes of officers, it’s truly impressive the choreography and stunt work being done here. Any action movie fan will thus enjoy this.
The film does end a bit abruptly. And with an hour and 49 minutes of runtime, I feel it still could’ve been stretched more to tell more of the backstory of these characters. Or give more context to the threat that they face in the film. The movie pushes you from set piece to set piece pretty quickly which makes the gravity of each situation and how Clark handles them dissipate far too fast.
Without spoilers, the film does set itself up for potentially becoming a new franchise in the Tom Clancy series. And I hope it does. It was great seeing a Black lead in this type of film and the action on-screen entertained me the whole way through. If you can get past the shaky acting and just enjoy Without Remorse for what it is, you will have a good time.