December 8, 2021

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Review: No regrets, the emergence of a new action franchise?

The muscular Michael B. Jordan allows expressing his anger in No remorse, adapted from the famous novel by Tom Clancy. An action film that could launch a new genre saga on Amazon Prime Video. At least, that’s what he hoped for. And U.S ?

In the Tom Clancy universe, there are two characters: the brainy Jack Ryan, whose on-screen incarnations can no longer be counted and who currently owns the series on Amazon Prime (the world is small…), and John Clarke, his partner more “into it.” , we’ll talk after that”. To this day, the latter primarily appears on screen to help his friend Ryan, in the guise of Willem Dafoe (Immediate Danger in 1994) and Liev Scheiber (The Total of All Fears in 2002).

Seeing this potential anti-hero, cinema has been trying to bring it to the screen on its own since the release of a novel devoted to its origin story, No Regrets, in 1993. Long hopes, lots of actors being mentioned and in the end, it took the arrival of the main actor project and ( for the first time) producer, Michael B. Jordan, to finally launch the machine. And the fact that the film was originally planned for theaters ends up on streaming platforms is probably not a bad thing…

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Returning from an overseas mission, John Kelly (Michael B. Jordan), a special forces soldier, is attacked at his home. He survived, but his pregnant wife died. In search of revenge and ready for anything, he will try to track down the killers and their sponsors with the help of his boss (Jodie Turner-Smith), a CIA agent (Jamie Bell) and a member of the government (Guy Pearce). Along the way, Kelly must not forget one thing: she shouldn’t have survived.

For those who have read the original novel, expect big differences between this novel and this adaptation. A surprising bit of freedom as we know that every adaptation of Tom Clancy has used the same donations. Here, the base material is mostly used to offer writers Taylor Sheridan (Sicario) and Will Staples a medium to carve out their own ideas to offer the protagonists of his universe (for now) that are not shared with Ryan. Almost mandatory, the Vietnam War playground for Kelly (future Clarke) is shifted here in contemporary and at the same time, timeless territory.

Scenario level, hard to do is more common. Anyone who’s ever seen a movie where the words “government,” “CIA” and “conspiracy” are spelled knows exactly what’s about to happen. We follow a marked path where Kelly will move up the food chain following the specs of the genre. And it’s written with such diligence that it becomes fun to watch a film that tries to surprise, even when the characterization of the characters and the actors chosen to play it leaves no doubt as to its true motivation. As is well known, in conspiracy films the coolest people are often the good guys in the story and vice versa (no, never).

We can rebuke the awkwardness if it’s unintentional (and because we know at least the talent of the screenwriter). However, the No Regrets scenario has only one goal: to create the start of a saga by avoiding the most unprofitable initiatives. We are faced with a functional scenario from start to finish, every scene, every protagonist has a precise purpose without the freedom to go beyond the frame. From this angle, the feature film is a success because it only applies recipes that are proven and work well; like a civil servant who diligently does his job before going home. We would have liked better, we could have had worse.

If we exclude scenarios that contain content to do what we ask, what makes it possible to value the experience? Without a doubt the presence of Michael B. Jordan. The actor revealed to the public by Creed clearly wants to keep clenching his fists to fight the villains. With his impressive build and animal charisma, he literally took the entire screen, jaw clenched, to show anyone he could hold his own franchise. The bet wins at this level, because even though the character, for now, lacks the depth to tell something about some of the films, he definitely makes you want to see more. What do you want, the 90s teen in us loves it when it’s messy everywhere; we are weak.