Here in the UK, we’re inching ever nearer to the re-opening of cinemas (just over two weeks away), but thankfully while we wait, the major streaming services continue to keep our entertainment needs covered. Today it is the turn of Amazon Prime Video, which has just dropped the new action-thriller, Without Remorse.
Directed by Stefano Sollima, and starring Michael B. Jordan, Jodie Turner-Smith, Guy Pearce, and Jamie Bell, Without Remorse tells the story of a US Navy SEAL, out for revenge following the assassination of his wife and unborn child. The movie is based on the book of the same name by Tom Clancy, and is available to stream for all Amazon Prime subscribers from today.
In the movie, Jordan plays John Kelly – a Senior Chief Navy SEAL who is sent on a mission to Syria, which results in the rescue of a CIA operative who was taken hostage by ex-Russian forces. Three months later, and back on US soil, Kelly and his fellow team mates are targeted for assassination by a Russian hit squad.
Kelly survives the attempt on his life, but his wife is murdered in her bed. Distraught, Kelly sets out on a path for revenge, uncovering political secrets along the way.
As with a number of movies released in 2020/2021, Without Remorse is a film which was originally intended for cinema screens, but was acquired by Amazon because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the film is a being seen as a big release for the streaming service, so you should probably expect to see a fair bit of promotion for it over the coming days.
The good news is, if you are bombarded by ads and if you do decide to watch the movie, you’ll not be hugely disappointed, as Without Remorse is a decent action-thriller. It isn’t amazing – I’ll explain why in a moment – but it is an enjoyable watch, with a great performance from Michael B. Jordan.
Jordan is the shining light in this picture, and his role as a mentally scarred soldier, walking a fine line between determination and being near-suicidal, is worth your time alone. Kelly is strong, focused and unrelenting in his quest for revenge, even if he gets shot, beaten, and blown half-way across the screen in order to complete his mission, and Jordan captures this perfectly.
This film also benefits from some solid action scenes. An early sequence involving a flaming car and an incredibly ticked-off Kelly is one of the highlights, as is a prison cell brawl between Kelly and a team of riot guards.
The action scenes are peppered throughout the movie, which helps to maintain momentum. There are a couple of emotional moments too, as Kelly reflects on what he has lost.
So, all of this is good stuff. But what lets the picture down is its predictability. There’s nothing particularly surprising or original about the movie – elements of this story have been done before in other films (Death Wish, The Punisher etc), and there are other action movies that push the envelope more (Bond, Bourne and so on).
The film also suffers from being completely unsurprising. Every twist is blindingly obvious to anyone who has ever watched a handful of movies, making this mostly by-the-numbers storytelling.
Yet, despite its flaws, I enjoyed Without Remorse. It’s perfectly fine entertainment, it doesn’t outstay its welcome, and if Jordan is game for a return, I would come back for more.
This movie feels like the set-up for a whole new series, and if the mid-credit scene is anything to go by, then sequels are intended – and I’m OK with this. Without Remorse is not going to change your life, but it is fine viewing, and ideal for those who enjoy characters along the lines of Jack Reacher, Jack Ryan, Jack Bauer… or any other action hero called Jack.