Movie Plot – Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse: An elite Navy SEAL, sets out to avenge the murder of his wife, but finds himself caught up in a larger conspiracy.

Director: Stefano Sollima
Writers: Taylor Sheridan, Will Staples, Tom Clancy
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Jodie Turner-Smith, Jamie Bell

John Kelly

I had to do some looking up for this but I discovered that there were actually plans for this film for a long time.

There have been plans since the 1990s to give Marine Kelly his own movie, starting with Without Remorse. That it has finally come to pass, then, may be called a miracle. That the film skipped the cinemas due to corona and was immediately popped on Amazon Prime is understandable.

More striking is that this film adaptation has little to do with the source material, which was set during the Vietnam War. Other than the character John Kelly, it is a completely different story. Still, it makes grateful use of the famous thriller author’s name recognition.

How it all begins

In the exciting prologue, we see Kelly being led astray by his CIA commander Ritter. In a war-torn Syria, Kelly and his team of Marines must rescue an American hostage from the hands of the Syrians. However, it turns out to be Russians who are operating as adversaries and hostage takers, thus becoming Kelly’s arch-enemies. Three months later John’s colleagues are killed one by one. Kelly barely manages to escape his attackers.

Heavily wounded, the marine rehabilitates in the hospital. In addition to physical recovery, a spiritual challenge awaits him. John’s heavily pregnant wife was also killed in the violence. Kelly seeks revenge but is about to uncover a conspiracy with major geopolitical interests. From the Minister of Defense to his own colleagues, no one can be trusted.

It’s a pretty chewed-out fact: a man loses everything and everyone he loves, therefore has nothing left to lose and thunders unscrupulously towards his goal. Of course, tracking down and executing the person responsible for his personal suffering is extremely unsatisfying. For as John Kelly puts it at the end: perhaps he was fighting himself rather than the Russian enemy.

From solo to a team

The heartbreaking fact of losing a wife and child is something no one ever hopes to experience, but everyone can somehow imagine it. That image is probably far removed from how Kelly deals with it.

Without Remorse must rely on a handful of successful action scenes, with a plane crash over the Barents Sea as the highlight. It all looks fine, although the same street corner in Murmansk passes by too often. Curious is the writers’ choice to have Kelly operate on his own at times and then have him join a team against whom he completely drops out. This was the greatest bummer for me as I wanted to see him go solo.


I expected much more from this film. Without Remorse does not meet my expectations and is just there. I wouldn’t call it bad either, as some of the action scenes are fun to watch.