Michael B Jordan bleeds passion, pain and power in every scene, elevating Without Remorse above this year’s other action spy thrillers
Without Remorse is the latest on-screen adaptation of a Tom Clancy novel taken from his infamous spy and espionage series. Directed by Stefano Sollima, it stars Michael B Jordan as Navy Seal John Kelly, a well-trained, highly skilled, and elite officer-the best of the best. The fallout from his latest mission overseas follows him home and ends up costing him all he cares about.
Despite Tom Clancy’s world of elite spies and government conspiracies being widely celebrated in the literary world, my introduction to the Tom Clancy universe came via my games console. Game titles like Rainbow 6, Splinter Cell and more recently The Division all offered exciting and intriguing insights into not just the prototype technological gear available to some of these agents but also to the self-serving agendas behind many of the world’s international conflicts.
The film does a great job of introducing the audience to Michael B Jordan’s John Kelly, both in combat and in his private life. He is surrounded by loving family and friends at home and by a solid trustworthy team out in the field. John Kelly is definitely what you would describe as a ‘company man’ and a patriot. All of this is thrown into disarray when his wife is killed and the system of government he believes in, refuses to investigate her murder. John goes off on his own, outside the ‘rules of justice’ to seek revenge for his wife’s murder and enters a world where anything goes to achieve his goals.
Related: Check out 10 Fascinating Facts about Michael B Jordan here
Without Remorse is an origin story for the character John Kelly. Director Stefano Sollima does a good job of fleshing out this world with a few interesting and diverse characters, many with their own agendas. The music suitably drives the tension and is used particularly well, especially during the home invasion scene.
Tom Clancy stories are known for their in depth and complex story lines which leave you guessing till the last minute. Unfortunately, Without Remorse doesn’t reach those heights. This is a typical revenge story, the type we have seen many times before with a government conspiracy which is fairly predictable. The reveals aren’t a surprise, and the characters mostly turn out to be exactly who you suspect they are. This could have ended up a very average adaptation with a different actor but despite its short comings, Michael B Jordan manages to lift this above average and make it feel fresh and like something special. He gives a multi layered performance, crossing effortlessly between intensity, action and emotional scenes.
Related: See the full explosive Without Remorse trailer here
The supporting cast are competent with no real stand out performances. The stunts are good without being spectacular or over the top. The set designs perfectly compliment the story being told and the film moves along at a suitable pace. On its own, Without Remorse is a decent first effort at bringing this character to screen and potentially launching a new franchise. Without its lead, it’s good but not great. The Inclusion of Michael elevates this above other films in the genre released this year.
Michael B Jordan is one of the leaders of the new breed of action heroes. He combines the traditional physical attributes of an action star with wit, charm, believable combat, and incredible acting ability. He bleeds passion, pain and power into every scene, making Without Remorse a hugely entertaining adventure and easily the 2021 spy action thriller to beat. If Michael continues direct involvement with the franchise, there is a lot of scope to expand and develop.
The character John Kelly alludes to the formation of a team of agents from different countries under the code name of ‘Rainbow’ to tackle rogue government threats in the future. That indicates they intend to follow the computer game Rainbow 6 even further which makes this an exciting origin story for this character. The story here could have been less linear and the outcome less predictable, but Michael B Jordan makes this a thrilling ride definitely worth taking.