Military movies are not my jam. I don’t mean war movies, although the crossover is heavy, I mean the Tom Clancy-style paramilitary movies where the enemies are vaguely Russian or brown, depending on the era, and the tone of the piece is more about unchallenged unilateral violence with no consideration for real-world implications. I prefer my action movies outlandish (John Wick, superheroes), stupid (The Accountant, Gerard Butler’s oeuvre), or set in the high stakes world of nightclub ownership (Road House). Military movies, especially of the post-9/11 era, are a different beast, too obsessed with authenticity to be fun and especially nerve-wracking for anyone who watches while having a loved one in combat overseas (honestly a little worried about Top Gun: Maverick on this score, as one of my oldest friends is a Navy fighter pilot). It’s tough to square with military movies in 2021, when America is nearly 20 years into unceasing wars in the Middle East and we’re (finally) beginning to reckon with how Hollywood has shaped attitudes toward things like the military and policing. That said, I would rather watch Michael B. Jordan in a military movie than, say, Chris Pratt.
MBJ stars in Without Remorse, the latest from the Tom Clancy factory, which will premiere on Amazon Prime on April 30 (Amazon is also home to John Krasinski’s Jack Ryan series). This is a product of MBJ’s deal with Amazon Studios, which includes first-look for film projects and an overall deal for TV. I am excited to see what MBJ brings to the table as a producer—he’s also working on a series about Muhammad Ali with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation—but I’m not going to lie, Without Remorse is not exactly my bag. That said, it looks appropriately tense and MBJ is clenching his jaw left and right, which is a 2021 mood for sure. The film also stars Jodie Turner-Smith and Brett Gelman (Fleabag’s creepy brother-in-law and a generally underappreciated actor), which is a bunch of people I like. For MBJ’s sake, I hope Without Remorse does well, but I’d rather see him suit up as Superman.