Warner Bros.’ fantasy martial arts actioner Mortal Kombat and Amazon’s Tom Clancy origin story Without Remorse don’t seem to boast many similarities, but narratively, they both fell into the exact same trap.
Each movie spent its entire running time delivering worldbuilding via exposition, with the whole endeavor from start to finish more of a feature-length trailer for a shared universe rather than a worthy standalone effort in its own right. Mortal Kombat simply had Shang Tsung say “death is only another portal” to pretty much hammer home the idea that there were no dramatic stakes, while the Johnny Cage and tournament teases rendered the entire plot worthless.
As for Without Remorse, it was all about explaining how Michael B. Jordan’s John Kelly morphed from happy family man into cold and ruthless covert operative John Clark, and if you’d switched the streaming exclusive off before the end of the credits, you wouldn’t even know there was a blatant wink to the audience that the entire operation was designed almost specifically to set up a Clancy universe with Jordan at the center, and Rainbow Six was up next.
Of course, it’s hardly stealthy sequelizing when original studio Paramount announced that they were developing both Without Remorse and Rainbow Six as star vehicles for the producer and leading man, so it’s probably safe to assume that Amazon inherited the same deal when they purchased the project last year.
In fact, we’ve now heard from our sources – the same ones who told us Netflix were green lighting Enola Holmes 2 long before it was confirmed – that the streamer are indeed still planning on forging ahead with Rainbow Six, probably buoyed by strong viewing figures for Without Remorse and ignoring the tepid response from audiences and critics. And Jordan will indeed return.
As it’s still early days, we don’t have much more to share than that, but let’s just hope the film doesn’t fall into the same traps as its predecessor, as there’s certainly potential for an exciting new franchise here.