Tom Clancy’s thriller Without Remorse set the original battle in Vietnam. In Amazon Studios’ film, starring an excellent Michael B. Jordan, we fast forward to a more current battleground, Aleppo, Syria. But the situation U.S. Navy SEAL Senior Chief John Clark (Jordan) finds himself in is similar. The team on the ground is misled about the purpose of their mission. After Clark and others kill a group of shady Russian operatives who are smuggling weapons, they become targets on U.S. soil. Two other of the team members are killed before the assassins come after Clark and massacre his wife, Pam (Lauren London), who is pregnant with their first child, a daughter.
Clark manages to kill all but one of the Russian mercenaries, but he’s seriously wounded. His friend and former SEAL member, Lt. Commander Karen Greer (Jodie Turner-Smith), tries to find answers. But meeting with a CIA officer, Robert Ritter (Jamie Bell), and Secretary of Defense Thomas Clay (Guy Pearce), she learns that the entire incident will be buried, retaliation ruled a lost cause. Greer isn’t about to be deterred, and, risking prosecution, she shares the information with Clark. We have no doubt that Clark will now be on a mission to avenge the lives of those he loved.
Since the Amazon Studios film takes very little from the Clancy novel, one wonders why adding the author’s name to the title is necessary. Clancy died in 2013 and while his books continue to sell, younger viewers may not be familiar with his work. Still, the Clancy formula, fast moving plots with shifting villains and lots of firepower, works well here. We are left guessing until the end who the bad guys are. (I would add gals, but since Turner-Smith is the only woman cast as a member of the military, that would be a spoiler.)
Clark’s statement, “I’ll show them what a pawn can do to a king,” leaves little doubt that he will seek revenge. After killing one of the Russian officials with knowledge of the attacks, he’s sent to prison. He manages to avoid being slaughtered in prison, and his skills acknowledged, is asked to join the mission to extract a CIA operative in Murmansk. The mission is doomed from the start, and Clark protects the team as they escape, knowing he will probably die. But Clark, as so many Clancy heroes, can’t be killed off.
Jordan is an appealing hero. In the fight scenes, he more than holds his own, but melts hearts when he’s with his pregnant wife anticipating the birth of their daughter. If Amazon decides to continue the series, he’s in for a long run.
Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse is now streaming on Amazon Prime.
Top photo: Michael B. Jordan stars in WITHOUT REMORSE Photo: Nadja Klier © 2020 Paramount Pictures