The film adaptation of Tom Clancy is without remorse bears little resemblance to the source material. Michael B. Jordan is a wild protagonist who destroys villains as the vengeful Navy Seal. But the upgrade from the 21st century classic is almost torpedoed by an absurd conspiracy. The tense and agonizing plot of the novel is replaced by absurd geopolitical machinations. Fancy action scenes and the basics for a better sequel save the film from a big disappointment.
Without regrets opened in the civil war decimated city of Aleppo, Syria. Lieutenant Commander Karen Greer (Jodie Turner-Smith) leads an elite special forces team on a secret exfiltration operation. CIA agent Robert Ritter (Jamie Bell) provided minimal information about their target. Senior Chief John Kelly (Michael B. Jordan), the ass of the team, has doubts about the goal.
Kelly’s instincts turn out to be correct. The team saves his man, but encounters a completely different enemy than expected. Three months later, John Kelly settled into domestic life with his heavily pregnant wife (Lauren London). But when he contemplates retirement after a lifetime of military service, a heinous attack on his family and members changes everything. Kelly becomes an unstoppable force of vengeance.
Tom Clancy’s books are impeccably written. He wove fascinating, intricate narratives with richly imagined characters. I’ve read almost all of his work and, like millions around the world, am an unabashed fan. I didn’t expect this film to be an exact replica of the book, but I honestly am amazed at the changes. Without regrets is studded with a ridiculously obvious ham-fisted villain. It’s completely predictable without the supporting characters being remembered. This is pretty surprising from a Taylor Sheridan (Sicario, Hell or high water) Screenplay and Italian director Stefano Sollima (Sicario: Day of the Soldado). Those filmmakers should have thrown this story out of the park on their worst day.
Michael B. Jordan and the action choreography are the salvation. Without regrets works as a pure action film. Several standout scenes cancel out the crazy script. The first firefight sets the stage for the upcoming close combat. John Kelly doesn’t mow people like Rambo with a Gatling gun. He is an elite Navy seal who uses suppressed rifles, evil hand-to-hand combat, and stabbing knives. The special forces and their tactics are well presented. Jordan is absolutely believable as a man who has nothing more to lose. He delivers punishment with an ultra-chiseled physique and seething anger.
Without regrets sets the stage for future Rainbow Six films. Anyone who’s read Tom Clancy knows where the story is going. I see Without regrets as a primer for what is to come. The audience is familiar with Jack Ryan and his adventures. John Kelly, who undergoes a slight name change, comes to the fore in the “Clancyverse”. The next installment has to be an improvement over this one. Note to the producers, stick to the books and you can’t go wrong. Without regrets is a production by Paramount Pictures, Skydance Media and Weed Road Pictures. Amazon Studios will stream the film worldwide on April 30th on Prime Video.
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