“Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse” represents the bulk of his 2019 action and updates Clancy’s 1993 novel by starting with a prologue in Aleppo, Syria, and referring to the Russian military presence in the country. But geopolitics and the relative lack of cyber-anything date the film to a period barely post-Cold War, while the mechanics of the action Grind like holdovers from Charles Bronson’s heyday.
Michael B. Jordan plays John Kelly, a Navy SEAL whose pregnant wife (Lauren London) is killed when Russian agents try to break into her home and try to fire him. A sympathetic colleague of the SEALs (Jodie Turner-Smith) and the Secretary of Defense (Guy Pearce) loosen protocol to help Kelly get revenge, but a CIA official (Jamie Bell) is upset and signals to viewers that he is secretly works for the other side – or at least that screenwriters Taylor Sheridan and Will Staples need them to think that. (In any case, Bell could reduce the arrogance.)
The director, Stefano Sollima (“Sicario: Day of the Soldier”), manages the process with a minimum of enthusiasm, relying on a score by Jonsi (by Sigur Ros) for the ambient energy. Even the pictures are gray and indifferent, and the shorter-than-expected running time does not correspond to a brisk pace.
Three set pieces – an ambush outside Dulles Airport; a creatively executed hostage-taking in a prison; a plane crash – get the movie going, but most of “Without Remorse” is surprisingly boring. Jordan is a strong enough action hero, but the character portrayed doesn’t give him any shape to play with.
Tom Clancy is without remorse
Reviewed R. The human toll on espionage. Running time: 1 hour 50 minutes. Watch on Amazon Prime Video.