So Kelly returns home from the war to be with his pregnant wife, who wants him to leave the military, but he isn’t sure, and blah blah, even the filmmakers don’t seem to mind. Kelly’s team is wiped out, his wife is caught in the crossfire, yada yada, let’s go avenge ourselves. When Kelly’s anger is channeled against a Russian bigwig, the film practically explodes, and it’s in these bursts of imaginative sadism that Without Remorse hints at being its own thing. One of the film’s most tense moments comes when a spotlight rolls across a floor, and there’s a scene where Kelly peels off his shirt and prepares for a fight that’s almost as exciting as the punch-up that follows.
However, things get murkier in the second half, with a long slog of dark firefights. Will Staples, Sheridan’s co-writer, began his career writing video games such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and the film’s later action scenes often follow Jordan as he is targeted from behind. These images may be familiar to gamers, and you may find that they immerse you in the hero’s peril, as though you were crouching behind the flimsy cover. However, a lot depends on how long you’re willing to watch a man crouch behind a wall. IMDB
The fact that most of the action takes place in the dark and that the bad guys are a never-ending supply of anonymously masked and body-armored nobodies doesn’t help matters. At least when Kelly is seeking vengeance, he’s dealing with real people, even though everyone delivers their lines as if they’ll have to pay back their entire paycheck if they seem to be having fun for even a second. I’m not sure if the repetitive frowning and clenched-jaw mumbling were a reflection on the numbing impact of murdering and controlling your fellow man.