Without Remorse -B
Rated R, 110 minutes
The action-packed new spy thriller "Without Remorse" stars "Creed's" Michael B. Jordan as Tom Clancy's hero John Kelly, later known as John Clark. The film gets bogged down in a muddled story, but Jordan is a solid action hero who even Clancy himself would probably approve of, even if the film bears little resemblance to his book.
When a squad of Russian soldiers kills his family in retaliation for his role in a top-secret op, Sr. Chief John Kelly (Jordan) pursues the assassins at all costs. Joining forces with a fellow SEAL (Jodie Turner-Smith) and a shadowy CIA agent (Jamie Bell), Kelly's mission unwittingly exposes a covert plot that threatens to engulf the U.S. and Russia in an all-out war. Kelly must fight his enemies without remorse if he hopes to avert disaster and reveal the powerful figures behind the conspiracy.
The flawed yet entertaining "Without Remorse" is directed by Stefano Sollima ("Sicario: Day of the Soldado" and the Amazon TV series "ZeroZeroZero") and is co-written by "Hell or High Water's" Taylor Sheridan and Will Staples of the new "The Right Stuff" TV show. Hollywood has been attempting to make a "Without Remorse" film version for years without much success, but they've found the right Kelly in Jordan. This is an origin story and spin-off of a character from Clancy's Jack Ryan-universe and a possible franchise set up for the talented "Black Panther" and "Creed" whose star has grown considerably in recent years.
Director Sollima also clearly knows that it's an action-thriller, packing it with plenty of action set pieces, explosions, gun fights and blood. That said, the story itself is much less complex than its source material, and this boils down to Kelly getting revenge on the Russians who killed his family. Unsurprising to say the least, Jordan still carries the film through some weak patches, particularly an unfocused second act.
Jordan is well-supported by a strong cast that includes Jamie Bell ("Rocketman") as a shady CIA agent, Guy Pearce ("Animal Kingdom") in a small role as a government official who knows more than he lets on, and particularly a sharp, strong turn from "Queen & Slim's" Jodie Turner-Smith as Kelly's Navy Seal colleague, who provides him some valuable assistance along the way.
"Without Remorse" isn't as memorable as some of the Jack Ryan entries, particularly the gritty John Krasinki-TV version, but as long as Jordan carries the action on his back, you'll be in good hands. Could've been better, but still worth a look for fans of Clancy and spy movies. Released on Amazon Prime on April 30th.