Movies

A Keynesian Warmonger Gets What He Deserves in the Otherwise Awful Without Remorse

A terrible, Tom Clancy-inspired action movie that ends in a lame speech touting war as economic stimulus.

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I don't have much good to report about Without Remorse, but I will say this: It's a movie where the Keynesian warmonger turns out to be the bad guy—and gets what he deserves. 

Before I spoil the end of this movie, an action thriller on Amazon Prime Video loosely adapted from a 1993 Tom Clancy novel, let me pre-spoil it with this: You don't need to get to the end, because it's a terrible movie, saved only occasionally by an all-in, relentlessly physical performance by Michael B. Jordan, as longtime Clancy hero John Clark. 

But if you do get the end (and again, spoiler alert) you'll be treated to a monologue by Guy Pearce, playing the Secretary of Defense, who explains that he's been trying to foment a war with Russia by—actually it doesn't matter, but all the nefariously convoluted stuff that happens in the movie, including a hit that resulted in the death of the hero's wife—in order to bring Americans together and pump up the economy. 

"You know who won World War II?" he seethes, in one of those explain-your-evil-plan monologues that villains in bad movies often give about eight minutes before the credits roll. "It wasn't the generals or the admirals," he says. "It was the economists." 

During World War II, he tells Jordan, the government purchased tanks, planes, ships, trucks, and other industrial goods. "All that spending lifted this entire nation out of poverty." There's also a throwaway line or two about how an external threat can bring together a politically divided nation. Sure.

As if letting innocents die in hopes of starting a massive war wasn't bad enough, Pearce proves his ultimate villainy by mansplaining macroeconomics and political polarization to the hero. He sounds less like a secretary of defense and more like a Twitter reply guy.

Not surprisingly, Jordan kills him rather violently pretty much immediately after that. It's fairly satisfying, as these things go. 

It's a popular myth, of course, that World War II government spending was primarily responsible for pulling America out of the Depression and kick-starting a midcentury economic boom; in fact, the war was incredibly costly (as war usually is) and diverted resources away from the productive economy. That some bureaucratic D.C. bigwig would both buy into that myth and cite it as inspiration for a cockamamie plan to bring Americans together and boost the economy is probably the most believable thing about the movie. 

The rest of it involves a series of often inscrutable moves and countermoves by both the military and intelligence community, as they attempt to rescue an American asset from Russian captivity, which then appears to spark a series of attacks on American soil—one of which results in the death of Clark's wife. 

Following her death, Clark hunts down a Russian diplomat and murders him in the drop-off lane outside Dulles airport by setting his car on fire, then shooting him several times during an interrogation. It's certainly harsh, but honestly it might not be worse than having to navigate the terminals at Dulles. 

Clark ends up in jail long enough to beat up some guards and be conveniently rescued by a U.S. marshal who then disappears for the rest of the movie. (The kludgy screenplay by Taylor Sheridan and Will Staples often saves Clark from certain doom through coincidence rather than through his own ingenuity.) 

After some dutiful exposition, the story takes a long detour to Russia for an apartment-bound action sequence featuring snipers, vest bombs, exploding police cars, and all sorts of other ordnance. Despite many, many explosions, the whole setpiece manages to be extraordinarily boring. 

The apartment shootout should be the movie's highlight, but it's just a dour, dull, slog. Director Stefano Sollima shoots the sequence (and the rest of the movie) in flat, visually indistinct compositions, and never musters any energy or urgency for the action. It has all the drive and tension of a weeknight trip to Harris Teeter.

Watch out for those snipers! Hmmm, a new flavor of Doritos?

This important character is wearing a bomb with a dead man's switch! Do you think they'll notice if I have 11 items in the 10 items or less lane? 

Anyway.

The only upside to the movie is Michael B. Jordan's seething, intense performance. Watching him psych himself up to fight a flotilla of armored prison guards is one of the movie's best moments, because it relies on his energy alone, not anything engineered by the director or screenwriters. 

Jordan deserves a big, exciting action franchise, but this disappointing dud isn't it, even if there is a mid-credits sequence teasing a sequel.

Like so many bureaucrats and lawmakers in D.C., Without Remorse makes promises it can't keep. Even the title is misleading; after two hours of indifferently staged buildup to a crappy speech by a nefarious D.C. politico, I'm pretty sure there will be a lot of remorse—yours. 

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  1. Nothing more timely than a post-Cold War spy thriller that ironically highlights the mindset of the current political class, who also happen to be trying to foment a war with Russia.

    1. Tom Clancy has been a woke bitch for decades. He was the first to add a female “Ranger”, “SF” character to one of his books. I threw that book in the fire and haven’t read any of his nonsense since.
      Clancy should do a follow up to the actual female that is currently in 10th SF. She had a negligent discharge in her apartment within a few weeks of reporting to group. The idiot shot a round through the wall into her neighbor’s apartment. She never checked on her neighbor, just sat in her apartment. The neighbor called had to call the cops. She is now sitting on a “B” team. If it was a dude, he would have been canned. Hopefully, she doesn’t kill anyone before she gets deployed.
      Clancy should write a book about modern SF. “Lowered Standards” or “Quantity over Quality” would good titles.

      1. I’m trying to remember which book the female Ranger shows up in. I’ll confess, I stopped reading his stuff closely post-The Sum Of All Fears, though I think he did get the last laugh over Chris Buckley, with the ending of Debt of Honor. We can all laugh together at how much The Bear And The Dragon would have to be changed to get bankrolled by Hollywood these days…

        Without Remorse is a harrowing revenge story with some nifty details and hints about how the Son Tay Raid was a bust, and why we never found any POW MIAs post-75. The book is actually good. I was sure the movie would be a pile of woke shit, so I never planned on seeing it.

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      2. She is now sitting on a “B” team. If it was a dude, he would have been canned.

        Maybe she’ll do some real heroic shit like murdering civilians like you claim you did on your deployments to the sandbox with special forces when you were in your mid 40’s lmfao.

        Better yet, maybe some black cop can kick down her apartment door and shoot her in the face and you can furiously stroke your microchode fantasizing about your frustrated ambitions to become an obese donut eating prick writing traffic tickets.

        1. Shut the fuck up, coward. You wouldn’t even think about opening your suck hole in front of talc, so why pretend you’re anything other than just another fat fuck civilian throwing empty criticism from your well worn couch.

          Come back when you’ve bet your life on a cause.

          1. Oh nice, you switched to your other stolen valor sock.

            As I’ve told you on over a dozen occasions, I will happily meet you anywhere in this country at the time and place of your choosing and we can fight for the 10 or 20 seconds it will take before you’re dead, if you’d like.

            1. I’m so sure. The guys who won’t bother to email guardians of the green beret to check or get on a zoom call over an any $ bet will totally fly anywhere in the country.

              You dumbfuck cultists are so full of shit, I don’t know how you summon the will to draw breath.

              1. Pretty sure xx_PUSSYSLAYER420_xx is not a name that I could run through the Guardians of the Green Beret you fatass piece of shit. Thanks for pussying out yet again though. Demonstrates exactly what you are, as always. Offer stand by the way. Not a joke. Never was. There’s easy ways to kill yourself, but that’s your business.

              2. By the way cytotoxic, it’s absolutely fucking hilarious that even in your wildest fantasy you’re a pathetic, brow-beaten, high-school-dropout, authority-worshiping, order-following, braindead, paste-eating, bootlicking US Army Man who is proud of being a subservient bitch to military bureaucrats and effete faggot politicians and brags about killing civilians. Even in your fantastical aspirations you’re a kiss-ass peon crawling on your belly like that pathetic worm you are. Couldn’t even LARP as the JTF2 from the country you actually live in? Or has Call of Duty not done a Maple Syrup Edition yet? LMFAO

      3. At least now we know where your combat experience came from: Tom Clancy novels. LMFAO. Explains a lot!

        1. “This guy understands his oath of enlistment and the incompatibility of that oath with excusing the trump cult insurection, therefore he never served.”

          This is tribalism logic laid bare. Pathetic maga cult should fuck off back to breitbart.

          1. Which part of the oath of service a capitol police officer authorizes the cold blooded murder of unarmed civilians without any warning or instructions for the crime of trespass, again you LARPing faggot cunt? If you had ever actually been an enlisted man instead of getting your information about your “special ops” career from novels and internet forums you’d probably realize that you’d be facing court martial and capital punishment for doing that in a combat zone. Then again, if you’d actually served you probably wouldn’t have seriously called for Apache attack helicopters to be unleashed on peaceful civilian Trump supporters. Good thing you’re just a pathetic fatass piece of shit Canadian cunt with a war boner whose “military career” can be summarized by a cheeto-stained Xbox controller.

            1. “…to uphold and fdfened the constitution of the United States of America…”
              That part, traitor.

              I’ve killed far better men than you. Vile traitorous scumfuck.

              1. Which part of the constitution authorizes summary execution for trespassing again? Oh right. It doesn’t. Also you’re an admittedly morbidly obese fat piece of shit too frightened to leave his house because you believe you will die from a cold virus. I’ll take my chances with you any time, any place, your choosing. Not a joke, never was, you nutless faggot piece of shit. I’ve stomped on cockroaches whose lives I cared about more than you. Fuck around find out.

      4. Clancy should write a book about modern SF.

        Clancy’s been dead for seven years, man.

        1. A 3 to 4 pack a day habit’ll do that to a guy.

        2. Lol, he was too busy on his latest special education, uh, I mean special operations deployment to read that news. LMFAO

      5. I’ve never read his stuff because I’ve never been in to spy thrillers.

        Clancy should write a book about modern SF. “Lowered Standards” or “Quantity over Quality” would good titles.

        The Air Force has been trying to get women into its special warfare pipelines, but they typically don’t make it past the initial prep course, much less the assessment or all the specialty courses they have to go through. These are rough, physically demanding schools that basically require you to be in peak physical condition for the entire enlistment. They all go through jump training and SERE, and most go through various pre-dive and dive schools as well. In the case of the pararescue guys, they have to also go through a whole year of EMT training on top of all the combat skills training and PT they do. It’s not an accident that the vast majority of enlisted Air Force Crosses, and the half of its enlisted MoHs, are either Combat Controllers or Pararescue.

        Any woman who gets through one of these, it will be because she is either one of the elite physical specimens of her gender, or because they lowered standards to get the graduates because Congress is watching what they’re doing.

      6. Tom has been dead for decades and sold the movie rights to Without Remorse in 1993, It was the last book he wrote, returning to an unsold 1971 Viet Nam war story manuscript. It marked the end of his independent writing career , and blame for the dozens of potboilers bearing his name published subsequently falls on those who wrote them.

      7. You do know Clancy is dead and had been for seven and a half years.

    2. “…the mindset of the current political class, who also happen to be trying to foment a war with Russia.”

      A very dark part of me hopes they succeed. They aren’t smart or capable enough to prevent it from getting out of control—though they most definitely think they are!—and accordingly, a good number of that class will end up dying horribly.

      1. They got bunkers, so wtf do they care?

        1. “Fallout” was a video game, Nardz, and the Vaults aren’t real. The way to survive a large counter value strike, is to not be anywhere near the sonuvabitch. Not by hunkering down.

          Biden might get out in 20 minutes. Doubt many of the others could.

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    4. Thanks for the warning, Reason. Another movie that I’m glad that I missed.

  2. “war as economic stimulus”

    Not a very good message. We Koch / Reason libertarians know the most effective economic stimulus consists of two policies: (a) unlimited, unrestricted immigration, and (b) a minimum wage of $0.00 / hour.

    #OpenBordersWillFixEverything

    1. Economic stimulus my ass.

      What other product or service “boosts” the economy when one takes physical and labor resources, creates a product or service with them, and then lays them all to waste as what is done in military battle?

      It’s just a total waste economically. No one wins. No one gets ahead economically speaking.

      1. Unless it’s used to ruin the PRC. Then it’s worth a trillion or two.

  3. I’m all for showing Keynesianism to be shown as ridiculous. But I could tell just from the previous that this movie has little to nothing to do with the book.

    Which is a shame because the book seems to be a much better story that what this is offering.

    Such a disappointment.

    1. Clancy movies nearly always suck. Exceptions were Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger which were decent for their time, but don’t hold up well.

      1. You didn’t enjoy Hunt for Red October? I thought it was a fun ride that worked on multiple levels. Connery as a heavily accented Russian submarine Commander… Who just happens to have a Scottish accent? Come on, it doesn’t get much better than that.

        1. Tim Curry was great in that.

        2. The movie was a great vehicle for delivering the “The Russians don’t take a dump, Son, without a plan” line.

          I would add, that relative to much of today’s trash where villains set aside their villainy because heroes ask them to and heroes learn a valuable lesson and then proceed to be the same sociopaths they were before the lesson, HFRO was well-written.

        3. Don’t forget to give Sam Neil some love there, too.

    2. That’s usually the case, except for Fight Club.

  4. Thanks for leading me to David Henderson’s review, “The Roaring Thirties”, of Alexander Field’s book, “A Great Leap Forward: 1930s Depression and U.S. Economic Growth”, claiming that during the 1930s the productivity of the U.S. economy boomed. Who was president during those years? Oh, yeah: Franklin Delano Roosevelt!

    PS: Among other things, Field claims that a greatly expanded system of roads build in the thirties greatly boosted U.S. productivity. Who built those road, libertarians? Who? Can you tell me? Think really hard!

    1. claiming that during the 1930s the productivity of the U.S. economy boomed.

      Since government spending is counted as part of GDP, this would naturally follow.

      Among other things, Field claims that a greatly expanded system of roads build in the thirties greatly boosted U.S. productivity.

      There had already been acts passed in 1916 and 1921 that started those programs off, you idiot.

    2. “…claiming that during the 1930s the productivity of the U.S. economy boomed. Who was president during those years…”

      Of course there was YUGE growth. There is always accelerated growth following a major economic reverse, or even a slow-down. The same happened following the recession of the late 70’s, and of the 2000’s. It would be a bit over-the-top to place the credit on the policies of FDR, Reagan, Trump, or whomever.

      Governmental actions are as likely, perhaps more likely, to hinder the speed of growth as they are to increase it.

    3. It’s hilarious that you’ve commenting here for literally 20 years and still don’t know that ROADZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ is a punchline in libertarian jokes about pathetic state worshiping limp dick faggot cocksucking pieces of subhuman dog shit like you. As long as you’re down on your knees licking those boots, feel free to suck my hairy sweaty nuts you pathetic fucking bitch.

  5. I haven’t read any Clancy books in 30 years, but I don’t recall that John Clark was black. I thought it was disallowed to play a role written for another race? Or does that only go one way.

    Anyway! The welfare and warfare crowd are still in power and getting antsy to send US military around the world and spend a few more trillion dollars doing it. Hidin Biden’s errors are getting worse and he’ll need to distract you with a good old fashioned military mobilization.

    1. “Hidin Biden’s errors are getting worse and he’ll need to distract you with a good old fashioned military mobilization…”

      Yes, but it’ll be against us.

    2. Correct, John Clark was a white man from Indiana.

    3. I haven’t read any Clancy books in 30 years, but I don’t recall that John Clark was black.

      Yeah, saw that Jordan was playing Clark (who, IIRC, is Irish-American) and knew I was out. Imagine Colin Farrell or Liam Neeson turning up in the role of Killmonger.

      1. Hey, this series had Sean Connery playing a Russian submarine commander without altering his Scottish brogue. I don’t really think you can complain about such mix and match casting when it comes to the Jack Ryan movies.

        1. Really? I mean, this miscasting in Without Remorse is not as much of a howler as making Roland black in The Dark Tower, but it’s in the same building. Should the Red October guys have tried to find a Lithuanian actor instead of Connery?

          I liked the effect of how they segued from Russian to English in the first few minutes. Elegantly done.

          1. In those few minutes the “great actor” BUTCHERED the Russian language! The KGB couldn’t have tortured it worse! It took me years to forgive Mr Connery for that—he put ZERO effort into it!

            1. Even Lithuanians don’t speak Russian THAT badly. (I should know—I get confused for an Estonian/Lithuanian/Latvian when I speak Russian with the natives)

            2. Even Lithuanians don’t speak Russian THAT badly. (I should know—I get confused for an Estonian/Lithuanian/Latvian when I speak Russian with the natives). (What’s with the duplicate comment warning, Reason?)

        2. Hey, this series had Sean Connery playing a Russian submarine commander without altering his Scottish brogue.

          Except Sean Connery was, auspiciously at least, trying to act like a Russian. They didn’t just throw him in and pretend that thre’s no reason why a Russian commander can’t be Scottish. Something tells me Jordan isn’t even auspiciously trying to play a white SF agent from Indiana or that the back story is that he’s an Irish Catholic from Indianapolis.

          1. I’m assuming they figure none of the people who would watch this–white, black, or otherwise–actually read Clancy’s books.

            It’s probably not as egregious as Hollywood’s weird fetish for black-washing comic book characters that were originally white redheads.

      2. Imagine Colin Farrell or Liam Neeson turning up in the role of Killmonger.

        Considering what Neeson said about black guys roaming around his neighborhood, playing a character that literally wanted to start a race war might be right up his alley.

        1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; if the movie had been written by a white supremacist, it wouldn’t have been done any differently. Black people being portrayed as gorilla-like on screen was astounding enough, but black people gaining strength from magic herbs, ritually murdering each other for control of their gang/clan, massively agrarian military/economy, the single redeeming/exceptional quality of an entire nation of black people being the rare minerals that happened to land under their country… it continues to astound me that it’s heralded as the iconic cultural movie that it isn’t/shouldn’t be.

    4. And Adm. Greer was not a woman and Kelly was not killing Russians in the book. They completely changed the story, top to bottom. There is NOTHING in this story that matches the book except a couple of names.

      Clancy should rise from the grave and demand his story back.

      1. In The Sum of All Fears, they rewrote the plot of middle easterners detonating a nuclear bomb in Denver during the Superbowl – to make the villains racist neo nazis from Austria and South Africa and the location of the explosion to be Washington DC. Twisted in the story is the “fact” that the material to create the nuclear weapon in Israel came from the United States based on analysis of the explosion.

        I’m pretty sure that’s the point at which Clancy said he was through with Hollywood.

    5. Or, massive tax increase. 😉

      But, only on “the rich” of course. Because after all, who likes “the rich”. (Exceptions notably applied to pro sports players, liberal congress critters and senate snakes of course.)

  6. Skip the movie, read the book.

    1. Word. The two have zero to do with each other.

  7. The book was about hookers, blow, and Vietnam. This sounds stupid.

    1. reading the synopsis on Amazon leads me to believe that “Seal” is the only thing the book and movie have in common.

      1. IIRC the book was basically Taxi Driver with a SEAL instead of whatever Bickle was

  8. It’s not just cockamamie bureaucrats who believe that massive spending on valueless items is good. So does Paul Krugman.

    1. … and the entire Reason editorial staff.

  9. book was amazing. I wanted to watch this but now maybe not

    the Amazon cartoon Invincible is entertaining.

  10. Maybe he should’ve stuck to basketball.

  11. “…loosely adapted from a 1993 Tom Clancy novel…”

    That’s an understatement. My stools are less loose preparing for a colonoscopy. I won’t spoil the plot. (Evidently the writers and producers already did that.) Just saying, don’t avoid the book fearing you will learn ANYTHING. Better yet, read the book and skip the movie. The book has a much more compelling premise and helps you understand where the character stands in the original Jack Ryan series of books.

  12. From what I have seen, the only things in common are the names of the movie and main character

  13. From what I have seen, the only things in common are the names of the movie and main character

    Sounds like the PBS sequel to Firing Line:

    Keep the Bach title music and forget Buckley.

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  15. I read the original book many years ago and based on the reviews I’ve seen, the only thing this move has in common is the name.

    The book itself was actually kind of good and had drug mules, prostitutes, special forces raids, Vietnam POW’s, bad writing about sex, a guy who pretends to be homeless but still brushes his teeth, and a dude who dies from the bends.

    The movie looks like crap on a plate.

  16. The only thing connected to Clancy is the title. His estate should sue
    to distance his name from this atrocity.

  17. It’s fiction. In the real world Krugman is still a wealthy powerful prick itching for WWIII and the boost to the economy he believes it will bring.

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