It takes a peculiar recklessness to perform an actor as good as Michael B Jordan and do something that is definitely not as good as ‘Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse’. That title – which you, in a way, read, may make you wonder what Tom Clancy did that was so bad – seems insignificant and faintly desperate, as if the flogging of the late author’s name could deliver a much-needed credibility boost. We may be in a recognizable Clancyesque world where salt-of-the-earth delegates take action against sinister government conspiracies, but if the products on offer are so anonymous, it can only help the visual and narrative indifference. There is no pleasure in reporting it. Jordan carried the roles of actor and film star interchangeably, and until now I would have been happy to follow him in just about every action franchise he has chosen. In particular, the ‘Creed’ films suggested that one of Hollywood’s most exaggerated practices – the attempt to rejuvenate a long-toothed intellectual property – could actually yield dividends if it rests on Jordan’s mighty shoulders (to nothing to say about his abs). and biceps). If nothing else, by stepping into the shoes of former Navy SEAL John Clark (after John Kelly) – previously seen as a supporting player in ‘Clear and Present Danger’ (Willem Dafoe) and ‘The Sum of All Fears’ (Liev Schreiber)) – Jordan is now the first black actor to play a Clancy hero, an achievement that would mean more if he got something interesting to do. You would not think it would be too difficult, as screenwriter Taylor Sheridan knows his way around in a pulpy plot (‘Hell or High Water’, ‘Wind River’) and freely deviates from the narrative details of ‘Without Remorse’ . the 1993 bestseller that served as Kelly / Clark’s original story. Sheridan and his co-author Will Staples updated the history of the Vietnam War in the book with a superficial topical plot that begins in war-torn Aleppo, where Kelly and other SEALs take part in a hostage rescue mission that turns out to be something completely suspicious. . But do not bother to analyze the geopolitics or think too hard about the paranoia that heated up the Cold War in the film. All that really matters, in terms of your investment as a viewer, is that his very pregnant wife, Pam (Lauren London), not long after Kelly returned home to Washington, DC, and settled down for a quiet life in the private sector, is brutally murdered. Personal tragedies have sent many anti-heroes on a fair rampage, from Dr. Paul Kersey to John Wick, whose respective vehicles depend on their impact on the ruthless manipulation of the audience’s sympathy. But Kelly’s tragedy doesn’t feel crushing or even life-changing; it feels sly, even numb. Barely five minutes after the sacrifice of Pam was introduced, she and her unborn child are summarily sent out by Russian assassins in a house raid that leaves Kelly herself seriously wounded. But he quickly jumps back and refills himself so he can find out who is behind these and other attacks – he’s not the only former SEAL targeted – and make them pay.
Forced to cycle through the stages of sadness, mostly off-screen, Jordan throws himself into the narrative of vigilance repayment with a grim determination. The subsequent wall-to-wall action does offer some highlights; it’s nice to see Kelly become an amateur arsonist and take no prisoners, though his most memorable gathering finds him tackling multiple opponents at once with just his bare fists and a strategically placed sink. He soon embarked on a mission to Russia – under the supervision of a strict Secretary of Defense (Guy Pearce) and an avid CIA director (Jamie Bell) – aimed at bringing the enemies concerned to justice. bring. There he will be shocked to learn amid disturbing underwater escapes, explosive shootings and tedious chess metaphors that warring governments sometimes act unscrupulously to advance their views on the national good. The intended “gotcha!” power of that revelation – plus an impressive twist of the “How did you know the thing I just mentioned that you would have had no above way of knowing?” variety – suggests that Kelly or his creators have not watched too many political thrillers of recent times. The film was directed with work-like intensity by Stefano Sollima, who had previously made ‘Sicario: Day of the Soldado’, a self-admiring current action film that made a very good film (the original ‘Sicario’) in a future series. There are also plans for mercenaries underway for Jordan / Kelly / Clark, judging by all the difficult forecasts that are taking place in the front and middle credit range. (‘Without Remorse’, originally produced and released by Paramount Pictures, is distributed by Amazon Studios, which is also behind the ongoing series ‘Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan’.) I usually like the pyramid scheme-like designs of today’s Hollywood action franchise, which require your investment in a bad product in exchange for later seemingly bigger and better payouts. But future installments can be nice, I think. With any luck, we see more of Jodie Turner-Smith (‘Queen & Slim’) than lt. Commander Karen Greer, Kelly’s toughest critic and closest ally. Their alternate belligerent and companionship relationship is a pleasant touch, even if it is in the service of investigations such as: ‘We have served a country we did not love.’ No thinking person can misunderstand what she means. But it’s an idea that deserves to be fully engaged, not exploited.