VOD film review: Without Remorse
Ivan Radford | On 30, Apr 2021
Michael B Jordan has long been an actor crying out for a franchise. The Fruitvale Station star has recently begun to get the screen status he deserves, from his scene-stealing villainous turn in Black Panther to his saga-stealing role in Creed. Now, he’s got a franchise hero all his own to play, as Tom Clancy’s John Clark makes his screen debut.
Clark inhabits the same universe as Jack Ryan, so it’s only fitting that Amazon Studios – home to the John Krasinski-starring Jack Ryan series – should pick up Paramount’s film that was once headed to cinemas. The result delivers on its blockbuster potential, but does so precisely by not getting carried away with its own blockbusting; this is a decidedly low-key affair, one that’s content to be dark and brooding rather than wise-cracking and loud.
Jordan brings charisma in spades to the role, even when Clark is fuelled by grief and anger – we begin the film as the Navy SEAL returns home to his pregnant wife (Lauren London), only for things to go violently wrong. And so Clark resolves to get revenge at any cost, unearthing secrets and shady forces along the way.
It’s a good fit for director Stefano Sollima (ZeroZeroZero and Suburrah), who has always favoured grounded thrills and action sequences that balance character with adrenaline. That results in some genuinely tense set pieces that keep us as closed in as Clark, whether it’s on a boat or in a burning car. The cast around Jordan are strong, too, with Jamie Bell and Jodie Turner-Smith particularly making an impression as allies on Clark’s side of the fence.
It’s a shame, then, that the film’s plot should be so generic, with Without Remorse proving without surprises throughout. And so it’s credit to the direction and cast that there’s still some sense of stakes at play – enough for us to want to see Jordan’s Clark get a sequel.
Without Remorse is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.