Wrath of Man (2021)
“Wrath of Man” stars Jason Statham, Holt McCallany, Jeffrey Donovan, Josh Hartnett, Chris Reilly, Eddie Marsan, and Scott Eastwood. Released on May 7, 2021, the film has a mysterious stranger working for a cash truck company.
The film was directed by Guy Ritchie, who also directed films such as “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”, “Snatch”, “Sherlock Holmes”, and “The Gentlemen”. It is based on the 2004 French thriller “Cash Truck” by Nicolas Boukhrief. It looks like good old Jason Statham is at it again, ladies and gentlemen. This time, he’s kicking some butt and protecting some cash. This latest action-thriller re-teams Statham with writer/director Guy Ritchie for the fourth time to start this year’s summer movie season off with a bang. This collaboration alone was the main reason for my excitement towards the film. I have been a massive fan of Statham for as long as I can remember, in case you forgot. I also have a soft spot for Guy Ritchie’s style after watching some of his previous films like “Sherlock Holmes”, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”, and “The Gentlemen”. While his recent films were far from perfect, I still find them to be quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, I still haven’t watched his earlier works yet, but don’t worry, I’ll get to them sooner or later. So far, Statham and Ritchie were two for three, with their worst film being 2005’s “Revolver”, so let’s see if they can go for three for four with this American action remake.
The story follows Patrick “H” Hill (Statham), a mysterious stranger with an unknown past. An armored cash truck company hires him to move hundreds of millions of dollars around Los Angeles. One day, one of the company’s employees, Bullet (McCallany), gets ambushed by a group of ruthless robbers. Luckily for the workers, H was able to defeat the robbers single-handily, much to everyone’s surprise. It’s later revealed that H is the leader of a crime syndicate who uses his job position to hunt for the thieves who killed his son. Using his advanced combat skills and training, H attempts to find the culprits and bring them down. The film’s narrative is split into four non-linear “chapters” that depict the events before, during, and after the first act’s armored truck robbery sequence. These events were shown from the perspective of H and the group of thieves led by Jackson (played by Donovan). Guy Ritchie is usually known for his kinetic and sleek filmmaking style that made his films visually delightful and engaging. For “Wrath of Man”, Ritchie toned it down a notch in favor of a gritty approach to the story. His elements are still present in the film, such as the well-focused camera movements and the non-linear narrative. However, the energy compared to his previous movies was noticeably iffy. While this new approach has its share of thrills and violence, it wasn’t able to compensate for its flawed story. The story is a revenge thriller mixed with a heist film and a crime drama, which does sound like a recipe for success for fans of the three genres. Unfortunately, it’s more along the lines of a recipe for a dessert that’s only good for about 15 minutes. After that, it’s a bland dish that doesn’t smell terrible, but it doesn’t taste great either. Packed with genre cliches, uninteresting characters, and a couple of convoluted elements, the plot only relied on the thrills and style to carry itself forward instead of balancing them with an exciting narrative. It’s not entirely a bad thing since it handled the thrills effectively, especially during the third act. However, I’m afraid they’re not enough to get me fully attached to the story. Jason Statham did what he could to be an enjoyable badass on and off the action field, but his character, H, was as empty as a hollow tree. His main goal was to avenge his son, but the connection between me and his desire after the film’s first act was almost nonexistent. Statham was fun to watch at times, which won’t disappoint many of his fans. His character? Not so much. The rest of the cast also did pretty well in their roles, ranging from McCallany as Bullet to Scott Eastwood as Jan. The thieves themselves were a little bit more interesting than H despite him being the main character, but that’s not saying much. The action sequences had enough suspense and style to put audiences in the middle of the film’s dangerous scenarios, most notably the big heist in the finale. That scene alone was another reason it’s worth the price of admission, thanks to its cinematography, editing, and Ritchie’s direction. Even though it’s more dialogue-driven than action-packed, the film offered plenty of liveliness in its shootouts to keep things riveting and well-paced.
Overall, “Wrath of Man” has its moments, but it’s far from a grand reunification between Ritchie and Statham. When it comes to the film’s action, it’s quite a treat. However, this treat didn’t last very long once its story started to unravel its bland nature. With its unoriginal and thin plot and weak characters, this heist wasn’t as successful as one would expect it to be. Nevertheless, it should suit well for Statham fans and some followers of Guy Ritchie’s other works. Other than that, it’s an average thriller that doesn’t pack enough punches for me to revisit this experience anytime soon.
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