Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse arrives on Amazon Prime: Watch it or skip it?

Michael B. Jordan is back with a new action movie on Amazon Prime. Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse has arrived and it’s time to tell you whether you need to add this movie to your watch list or skip it altogether.

The setup for this one is pretty simple. Michael B. Jordan is a Navy Seal who goes on a mission in Syria where things don’t go quite as expected. He ends up having to kill soldiers from another country that he did not realize would be there. The mission leads to him and his team being attacked in America in retaliation, which ends with his wife being killed. This sets up a revenge plot where Jordan’s John Kelly will stop at nothing to avenge his wife’s murder.

What worked in Without Remorse?

First of all, the action sets in Without Remorse were great. The movie opens in an action scene that sets the tone for the type of badass John Kelly is. The great thing about the different action scenes is that no two are similar. Whether it’s a different setting, Kelly with a team, or Kelly alone, you get something different with each action sequence. You get the military ops as well as the home invasion scene. The most intense, however, is the plane crash scene where John and his team have to first survive the crash, then get out of the plane before it sinks.

The second thing that worked for me in this movie is Michael B. Jordan. He gets a lot of flack for his acting chops but in this movie, he wasn’t asked to do too much. For the majority of the film he just has to be angry and intense and he pulled that off well. There are a few light moments with his wife Pam (Played by Lauren London, ATL), but for the most part, it’s all anger and intensity.

Without Remorse delivers great action sets, but the story loses its focus

Finally, the mystery elements worked for me to a certain degree. Very early on in Without Remorse, they let you know that there may be some sort of conspiracy behind everything that’s happening. They introduce a lot of different players and you are left wondering who is really pulling the strings. Trying to work out who the bad guys are is a part of the fun of this movie and it was interesting enough to keep me thinking for most of the movie.

Without Remorse still

Jodie Turner-Smith and Michael B. Jordan star in WITHOUT REMORSE Photo: Nadja Klier © 2020 Paramount Pictures

What didn’t work in Without Remorse?

Well, unfortunately, I think Without Remorse tried to do way too many things in one film. The problem creation and resolutions were coming fast and this one film felt like it had the conspiracy level of three Jason Bourne movies. You could have split this story out into two or three movies. The first being the origin. John Kelly as a badass Navy Seal, a mission that goes bad, the retaliation and the revenge plot. The first movie ends with him getting his revenge but stumbling onto a bigger conspiracy which he has to solve in the second movie.

However, in Without Remorse, you get the revenge plot mixed in with the larger conspiracy which then goes to an even larger conspiracy and it becomes a lot to keep up with. At some point, you lose focus on what is supposed to be the driving force behind Kelly’s motivations. This took away some of the heart from the film as it becomes more of a global incident film.

I try to write reviews without spoilers but I do believe it is important to know what you’re getting into. Without Remorse can be a fun experience if you’re completely in it for the action.

The story itself is going to be a 50/50 split between annoying some and intriguing others. The movie has a promising premise but falls back into military/war movie tropes that, again, take away from what the heart of the movie should have been.

The Rotten Tomatoes ratings are below 50% for critics and the general audience and I believe expectations are a huge part of that. The trailer was cut amazingly, but it makes you believe you’re getting a different movie than the one that was delivered. Skip it, unless you are an action movie lover who does not need a great story to be entertained.

Without Remorse is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video