Rule number one: Don’t kill the wife and unborn child of an elite Navy SEAL. He’s probably going to get a bit pissed about it. And when a man has nothing left to lose, much like John Kelly, that’s when he’s at his most dangerous.
The op was bad from the start. Firing into Aleppo, John and his team walk into a trap that tangles the USA with the Russians. Suddenly, John’s elite team of Navy SEALs are being gunned down one by one on US soil. In the street, in their homes and John’s next on the hit list. But mistaking John for being asleep in his bed, they, instead, assassinate his wife and unborn child. John survived. With vengeance on his mind, John Kelly will stop at nothing to find out who’s behind all this and make them pay the ultimate price. No mercy. No remorse.
That premise might feel overly simple to you, a man seeks revenge, and you’d be right to think that. But sometimes there’s nothing wrong with a clear and concise jumping off point. We’ve seen it all before with movies like Liam Neeson’s Taken. It kinda works.
What then works in the favour of Without Remorse is the twisting narrative that follows. The plot never unfolds exactly as you think it might. While it might get unclear, it’s always engaging. Even with the big set piece stunts that you’ll have become accustomed to in years of cinema viewing, you might brace yourself for one stunt but the story actually flips you into a different set piece entirely. Without Remorse works best when keeping you gripped to the edge of your seat, unsure how John Kelly and his team might get out this latest high stakes jam.
Eagle eyed viewers or those fans of Tom Clancy and John Krasinski’s Jack Ryan, might be keen to spot the cross references and potential set up for Rainbow Six. But don’t be mistaken; Without Remorse is all about John Kelly. Michael B Jordan shows off his stellar leading man capabilities in what might be his most restrained role yet.
With a man on the edge, John will surprise you. His lack of empathy (the title of the movie being a hint) might even be stark at times and unsettling. While the emotional pull is clear, you never truly get into his head or allow for those moments of breath. He acts without your knowledge. While that works to unsettle and keep you wondering what he might do next, it lessens that emotional connection that might have excelled Without Remorse passed an average action flick.
If you want action on the scale of Mission Impossible, Without Remorse mightn’t hit those high standards. It leans towards the reality of black ops and US NAVY Seals. But while Without Remorse never re-invents the action genre, it’s a solid addition and a worthwhile visit, particularly if you’re a fan of Jack Ryan or Tom Clancy’s novels.
By Jordan Barrett
Available to stream on Amazon Prime