There is a scene in “Without Remorse” where Jodie Turner-Smith takes down Michael B. Jordan, forcing him to his knees with a mere flick of her arm and it is one that is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser. Turner-Smith, who was last seen in the romantic drama “Queen & Slim” takes on a very different role as the ass-kicking, ball-busting Lt. Commander Karen Greer, a female Navy Seal in a film which is based on the popular Tom Clancy novel. In Clancy’s novel, the character is male and inventing a female Navy Seal is a change the filmmaker’s hope that audiences will embrace.
“People sometimes forget that Tom Clancy’s novels often contained elements of what is considered speculative fiction,” says producer Akiva Goldsman. “For this movie we created a female Navy Seal, because it’s something we hope is on the edge of reality, but just hasn’t happened yet. Jodie managed to make this character, who doesn’t actually exist in the real world, seem entirely as if she could.”
The origin story of action hero John Clark, one of the most popular characters in Clancy’s Jack Ryan universe, “Without Remorse” follows Chief John Kelly (Michael B. Jordan) an elite Navy Seal who sets off on a revenge quest after a squad of Russian soldiers kill his pregnant wife in retaliation for his role in a top-secret operation.
“All I need is a name!” he barks when he wakes up at the hospital after suffering severe gunshot wounds to the chest and shoulder. Joining forces with fellow Seal Commander Greer (Turner- Smith) and CIA agent (Jamie Bell), Kelly’s mission becomes to seek out the bad guys and pursue the assassins at all costs.
A high-octane functional thriller, which is slick, fast, and highly entertaining, it features two strong black leads fighting in head-to-head combat.
“Like John Kelly, Commander Karen Greer is a true patriot who discovers she’s actually a pawn in a larger game. She’s surprised by the level of corruption inside the ranks of an organization she believes in, and she’s the kind of person who, at the end of the day, wants to make things right,” adds Turner-Smith who hopes her role as Karen Greer might inspire young women to pursue their own personal goals, regardless of gender biases.Directed by Stefano Sollima (“Sicario: Day of the Soldado”), “Without Remorse” is a conspiracy drama, which although stays true to Clancy’s novel, has some other significant changes including Jordan’s character who is described in Clancy’s book as a white Irish American. Casting a Black actor to play him was certainly a major step forward in terms of expanding racial diversity and representation.
“I think it’s great that filmmakers today want to change the stories we’ve seen in the past and make them reflect our time now,” continues Turner-Smith. “It’s all about giving people the opportunity to see themselves on screen.”
From a brutal mixed martial arts-style fight scene to an apocalyptic shooting war that engulfs an entire city block during the film’s gripping climax, Jordan does a bulk of his own stunts in the film. Though performing complex stunts is a skill the actor has already mastered.
“I learned to do it that way while making Creed and Creed II,” he says. “I’m a visual learner, so once I practice the moves like a dance, they just kind of burn into my brain. That’s how I approached the fights in Black Panther, too.”
Co-produced by Jordan through his production company Outlier Society, the film also stars Colman Domingo, Guy Pearce and Lauren London who makes her return to the big screen as Pam, Kelly’s pregnant wife.
With good guys and bad guys running around with machinery from start to finish, this film is essentially a chase movie which reliably delivers. Adding, there is black star power oozing in every scene.
“Without Remorse” releases on Amazon Prime Video April 30.
Movie trailer below;
Samantha Ofole-Prince is a Los Angeles based journalist and movie critic who covers industry-specific news. Follow her on twitter @samanthaofole
Photos courtesy of Paramount Pictures