Plus: What can we learn about box office resiliency from Asia?
I remember reading the book "Without Remorse" as a teenager. I was famously oblivious at that age, and had no idea of the Great Clancy's political reputation. To me, his Jack Ryan and John Clark sagas were just great character dramas on the epic tapestry of modern global affairs.
Even as an ardent liberal, I cheered along with every right-wing manifesto disguised as a "political thriller" in Ryan's presidency, or culture-war diatribe disguised as an "action yarn" in John Clark's secret agent career.
It was only years (and years) later that I realized the political--and indeed, post-Trump, geopolitical--import behind the books. (Full disclosure: I only started disliking the series circa "Bear and the Dragon", in 2000. I think it's no coincidence that Clancy's dearest domestic political fantasies started taking on (partial) real life around then. When you start fulfilling your passion, it's unsurprising for your muse, and ability to write compellingly, to go downhill.)
So it's kind of disappointing to hear that not only is the cinematic version of "Without Remorse" a bad movie that basically ignores its original plot, it's a giant missed opportunity as well.
Read through a right-wing culture war lens, the book "Without Remorse" is dang-near a masterpiece of every conservative lament of how "America went to hell", particularly in its inner cities. It is kind of emblematic that the villain is a black middle-class man moonlighting as a drug lord, and that one of its side villains is a pot-smoking pencilneck who hates military guys with "big d*cks".
The movie "Without Remorse" could have been a clever subversion of the book's subtext, starring Michael B. Jordan, a modern African-American icon, as John Clark, and involving the more complicated Putin-era Russians (arch-enemies of liberals) rather than Soviet-era Russians and Vietnamese (perceived friends of liberals, in the minds of Clancy and those like him at least).
Instead it seems the Hollywood machine behind this decided to go all generic and predictable with their thing they call "Without Remorse". Missed opportunity, in this Clancy afficionado's (not necessarily fan's, at least not anymore) mind.
Re trailers, the worst I recall seeing in theaters was for Moonrise Kingdom. Kept me from wanting to see it in theaters. Then I saw it on cable a year or two ago, and I really liked it. Trailers may have become a science, but an imperfect one. Or maybe trailers just don't work for me for deadpan.
If I had to make a bet I would put my money on the Black Widow model being used by other studios and for other movies. It is giving people that grew accustomed/prefer to watching at home an option that still brings in revenue for the studio. The HBO Max model seems completely unsustainable and the Universal 45 day window seems like it is reverting back to close to the norm.
The beauty of the Disney+ model is that you get the box office, the subscription, and additional revenue without losing the second VOD/Blu-ray window.
This is like thinking I might get a bike for Christmas but you tell me ‘No. Pack of tube socks.’ I know we shouldn’t blame the messenger but.....I’m thinking about it!!
I went and saw Demon Slayer on Sunday night and was pleasantly surprised at the fact that my showing was practically (covid) sold out. It was nice to see it with an enthusiastic crowd.
Cool you opened the comments....love your stuff
I wish someone would make a 10 part Red Storm Rising series (set in the original 1986, not present day).
Michael B. Jordan should stop getting credit for good roles Creed, Black Panther etc. unless you are willing to blame him for Fantastic 4, Fahrenheit 451 etc. He seems quite hit and miss for all of his talent.
"Based on" the Tom Clancy novel? What part did they "base" it on, since the only thing I recognize is the title? Without Remorse was the origin story of John Clark, who features in nearly all the other Clancy novels. It should have been treated with RESPECT. But I suppose it's par for the course for the modern Clancy franchise, where some unknown amateur writes a trashy book and sticks Clancy's name on the cover.
I made it through the first eight minutes of Without Remorse, and all of twenty five minutes of the new season of Handmaid's Tale. I, like the rest of the world, loved the first season but it's just relentlessly bleak and depressing. And Without Remorse filled me with the same feeling. And I like Michael B. Jordan, (although The NY Times including him on its list of the 25 greatest actors would be the single biggest joke ever perpetrated by film critics if the list didn't also include Keanu Reeves). Maybe it's the feeling that after a year of covid lockdowns, we need something other than stale formats and endless darkness. And a break from Prime/Netflix's obsession for superheroes and action franchises wouldn't hurt either.
Too bad about WITHOUT REMORSE, but I did not know Jodie Turner-Smith was in this, and that alone is a hard no. She did her best to make QUEEN & SLIM unwatchable.