Tom Clancy's Without Remorse

Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
Tom Clancy's Without Remorse Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Violent thriller has amazing action sequences, so-so story.
  • R
  • 2021
  • 110 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Suggests that we question authority; don't always assume that the narrative we're being fed is accurate. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

John Kelly is an aspirational hero: He's a courageous patriot and a loving husband. That said, while he acts bravely in combat missions, his non-wartime actions while trying to get to the truth are equally as cutthroat, including deadly and extreme violence. Kelly's commanding officer is a compassionate and close friend. Positive representations of Black characters and a woman in authority. Teamwork is demonstrated.


Military battle action with RPGs, assault rifles, and explosions, leading to fatalities. A soldier who has been wounded loudly moans in pain for an extended period. Intense physical combat. People are shot through the head at close range. Car set on fire with people inside. Home invasion with innocent people shot. Realistic plane crash into the ocean. High peril throughout. As the likeable main character works to get to the truth and avenge a loved one's death, he's quick to shoot, kill, threaten, and work around the law and his superior officers.


Affectionate married couple kisses and gets a little frisky.


Language includes "bulls--t," "helluva," and "s--t."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcohol is used by a positive character to break bad news.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tom Clancy's Without Remorse is a violent action thriller starring Michael B. Jordan and based on author Tom Clancy's popular novel. It's notable on the representation front, focusing on a Black military hero (Jordan) whose commanding officer is a Black woman (Jodie Turner-Smith) and whose interactions are always professional, platonic, and powerful. That said, Jordan's character, John Kelly, is also vengeful and coolly takes actions that would likely be impossible to survive in real life. The movie's violence and moments of peril are often intense: Expect military conflicts that involve lots of artillery (including assault rifles and explosives), as well as knife attacks and hand-to-hand physical combat. Characters are shot in the head at close range and set on fire, and there's an intense plane crash. Characters drink and kiss briefly, and there's some strong language ("bulls--t," "s--t").

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMarriedMomOf3 April 28, 2021

Not bad for a Tom Clancy title! OK for 13+

I was lucky enough to be picked for early review. As a mom of 3 (7, 11, and 14) I am very iffy on what I allow my children to watch. My son who turns 15 in a fe... Continue reading
Adult Written byNardybynature May 2, 2021
Teen, 13 years old Written byGamingGamerMovi... May 2, 2021

Great action movie not related to the book

I’m already very familiar with the books and games based on Tom Clancy, which is what made this movie grab my attention.

The recent installment in the Tom Clan... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byenigmaburrito21 May 1, 2021

Mediocre plot, good action

This movie is OK, but it isn't the bloody action movie I was expecting it to be. It should be rated PG-13 if I'm being totally honest. There's li... Continue reading

What's the story?

When a squad of Russian soldiers assassinates members of a former military special ops team while they're going about their civilian life, they mistakenly kill the pregnant wife of Sr. Chief John Kelly (Michael B. Jordan) instead of him. Teaming up with fellow Navy SEAL Karen Greer (Jodie Turner-Smith) and shady CIA agent Robert Ritter (Jamie Bell), Kelly seeks to get to the truth of who was behind the hits. Discovering a covert plot that will inevitably lead to war, Kelly must fight his enemies WITHOUT REMORSE. 

Is it any good?

Phenomenal action sequences with enormous set pieces will take your breath away, but this book-based thriller suffers on the story front. Even viewers who tend to zone out during long action scenes are likely to stay completely absorbed by the all-encompassing cinematic maneuvers by director Stefano Sollima and director of photography Philippe Rousselot (whose previous work includes A River Runs Through It and Fantastic Beasts films). A scene in which a plane is hit by enemy fire and crashes into the ocean is gripping and IMAX-worthy.

Tom Clancy's source novel -- which was published in 1993 and set in 1970 -- is updated to modern day for the film. And that's not all that's changed; frankly, this adaptation by Taylor Sheridan and Will Staples is so different from the book that it's baffling that the novelist's name still precedes the title. What does remain is brutality at the hero's hands. For the most part, recent films have stepped away from heroes being quick to kill -- we now see villains make their own fatal missteps. But John Kelly is out for revenge, plain and simple. In tracking down the person who murdered his pregnant wife, he discovers a vast government conspiracy. Speaking of which, the movie's big reveal feels like an aged concept, too. The DUN-DUN-DUN moment is something that might have shaken the earth in the 1990s, but today's audiences are more likely to think, "Tell me something I don't know." 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why positive representation in the media is important. What examples did you notice in this film?

  • What's your reaction to the violence in Without Remorse? How does it compare to other thrillers -- is it more or less brutal? Do you think watching this kind of movie violence can desensitize viewers to brutality?

  • How is John Kelly courageous? How do he and Greer use teamwork to get answers? 

  • If you've read the source book, how does the film compare? Why do you think filmmakers decide to make changes to books for movie adaptations?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action and suspense

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