The bad news about this Amazon original feature film is that it plays the espionage game strictly by numbers. No surprises, nothing to make us jump out of our skin. Even the last-minute twist, we could see coming from miles away.
Fair enough...This is not John Le Carre’s spy territory but Tom Clancy’s cramped kingdom of chic thrills provided by uni-dimensional heroes and zero-dimensional villains. It is to Michaal Jordan’s credit that he succeeds in making this weatherbeaten dog-eared script look somewhat fresh fecund and feisty.
Though Jordan has his limits. He cannot breathe life into cadaverous twists in the plot. And once Jordan and his team reach Russia all we see is fire, smoke, blood and body count. Not to mention the shriek of sirens which sound the same in all countries. What I liked was the initial scenes where Kelly(Jordan) is seen bonding with his extended family and his pregnant wife Pam(Lauren London).
We all know what a happy-family prelude in an action film means. The mayhem that follows is as predictable as the Covid surge after the Kumbh Mela. Corpses literally litter the frames . Jordan braves his way through the gauntlet of mediocrity scoring high but nowhere near what he achieved as the activist lawyer in Just Mercy.
It’s not his fault. It’s the company you keep.
What really saddened me was to see the talented British actor Jamie Bell as the second lead. Not so long ago he was one of the more promising actors from Britain. How quickly he has moved to the also-ran zone! As the CIA director Jamie has to remain at loggerheads with Kelly till the end as if he has something more up his sleeve than. It is thankless role and one that gives Bell no opportunity to express himself with any vestige of fluency.Ditto the other characters who come and go without managing a ripple of curiosity.
Without Remorse is unusually unkind to the actors. It gives breathing space to none . Most of the plot is on the run most of the time,so that the characters seem to be panting after the next big action explosion without having had the chance to explain what they were doing in the last shoot-out.
Apart from Jordan’s Kelly who is at least given the dignity of a motivation, the only character I found remotely interesting is that of Kelly’s colleague Karen Greer(Jodie Turner-Smith). She is mysterious in her bearing and seems to be secretly in love with Kelly. Though once Kelly’s wife is killed there is no room for any finer emotions in the plot as it races against time,making sure we don’t lose interest.
We don’t. That’s the good news. No matter how much we criticize this film, audiences will be see the film anyway. The action scenes are spunky and stylish. Who cares about the rest?
Image source: IMBD/Youtube/Amazon Prime Video