LettersReel to Real

‘Without Remorse’ is quite watchable primarily because of Michael B. Jordan

“Without Remorse”
(US Rated R)

Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Jodie Turner-Smith, Guy Pearce, Jamie Bell

Genre: Action/Thriller

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Dwight’s Rating:

Video games are big business; a mega, multi-billion-dollar industry, with sales projected to continue to rise over the next few years.

Advances in technology, including hardware, software and internet speeds, have fueled the rise in immersive, open-world games, providing impressive and captivating realism for millions of players worldwide.

But if video games aren’t quite your thing – or your poor fingers and thumbs need a little break – perhaps watching the reenactment of a video game with real humans might interest you.

If that sounds intriguing, “Without Remorse” is here, with a plot even today’s games would deem well-worn and overused.

Seeking justice for the murder of his pregnant wife, an elite Navy SEAL uncovers a covert plot that threatens to engulf the United States and Russia in an all-out war.

I’m sure I’ve seen that movie, or something to that effect – at least 25 times! And that’s not counting the TV shows.

The film is quite different from the 1993 Tom Clancy novel on which it’s (apparently very loosely) based. There had been numerous attempts to adapt the source material for the big screen. But the various projects all faced issues and sat on the shelf for a couple decades.

With the book, which was set in the 1970s, Vietnam figured prominently.

But as that’s a plot that’s also been done and overdone, Russia, instead, is now the focus. And as the relationship between the US and Russia is once again in a precarious place – and with the film industry unwilling to mention even-bigger rival China in any contentious way, for fear of offending that huge film market – Russia has returned as the go-to bad guy nation for modern action/war/thrillers.

However, these updates don’t do anything to make the film feel more modern, and in many ways it does quite the opposite.

Despite all this, “Without Remorse” isn’t a horrible movie. In fact, it’s quite watchable, primarily because of star Michael B. Jordan, who gives a decent performance, and a good job displaying all of his physical and emotional pain. British actress Jodie Turner-Smith (“Queen & Slim”) is also good.

But otherwise, this is all video game, all the time: generic characters, with all the expected but highly predictable plot twists and devices. We’ve seen it so many times, we know exactly what they’re trying to do. We know who they want us to think can’t be trusted. We also know who they don’t want us to think can’t be trusted.

And like those immersive video games, everything happens as it should. Characters enter a scene, they are attacked, they are shot at, and they shoot back. Repeat. Many are shot. Many are killed. Repeat.

Before you go thinking you can just press that power button to end it, there is very clearly a sequel in the works. “Without Remorse” indeed!

Dwight Strachan is the host/producer of “Morning Blend” on Guardian Radio and station manager. He is a television producer and writer, and an avid TV history and film buff. Email dwight@nasguard.com and follow him on twitter @morningblend969.

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Dwight Strachan

Dwight is the host/producer of “Morning Blend” on Guardian Radio and station manager. He is a television producer and writer, and an avid TV history and film buff.

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