(director:Stefano Sollima; screenwriters: Taylor Sheridan, Will Staples, based on novel by Tom Clancy; cinematographer: Philippe Rousselot; editor: Matthew Newman; music: Jon Thor Birgisson; cast: Michael B. Jordan (John Clark/John Kelly), JamiesBell (Robert Ritter), Guy Pearce (Secretary Clay), Jodie Turner-Smith (Karen Greer), Brett Gelman (Victor Rykov), Jacob Scipio (Hatchet), Lauren London (Pam Kelly), Jack Kesy (Thunder), Colman Domingo (Pastor West); Runtime: 109; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Akiva Goldsman, Michael B. Jordan, Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger; Paramount/New Republic Pictures/Amazon Prime; 2021)

“Dull Tom Clancy action-hero film.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Italian director Stefano Sollima(“Suburra”/”Sicario: Day of the Soldado“) helms this dull Tom Clancy action-hero film that’s well acted but the story is tired and the set piece action scenes are not quite believable (a hostage taking at a prison, an ambush outside Dulles airport and a plane crash with our hero escaping unharmed).

The book “Without Remorse” is based on a 1993 Tom Clancy novel that was spun off from the Jack Ryan series. It was originally set during the Vietnam war, but now modernized to the recent situation in Syria. Though dead since 2013, the Reagan Conservative Clancy became a celebrity pulp novelist as he blended together stories on the Cold War righteousness with those of the rise of ruthless arms dealers throughout the world. Who knows what he might have thought of this film.

The shadowy Navy Seal John Kelly was an Irish-Catholic from Indianapolis, played previously by Willem Dafoe (“A Clear and Present Danger”) and Liev Schreiber (“The Sum of All Fears”). In this version, Kelly goes by the name John Clark and is well-played with charisma by the Black actor Michael B. Jordan. Too bad his character is a shallow one-note one.

John Kelly frees hostages in Aleppo, Syria. The Syrians get revenge by having Russian agents kill his pregnant wife (Lauren London) when they invade his home in the States, while intending to kill him.

Kelly is befriended by his sympathetic superior officer colleague from the SEALs, Karen (Jodie Turner-Smith), and the approving defense secretary (Guy Pearce) who is willing to support him in his unconventional new mission of revenge on the Russian assassins. Problem is the CIA head (Jamie Bell) is a Russian supporter and opposes Kelly, also having some long-lasting personal differences with him when both served in Syria.