The reason I was curious to see a screener of this is for the Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham reunion, which is their fourth since Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and Revolver. I haven’t seen that last one, and I barely remember the first two, but I like Ritchie’s The Gentlemen, so I was expecting a fun action thriller.
Well, to be sure, Wrath of Man lives up to its title in that it’s a hyper-violent revenge thriller. Hell hath no fury like Statham scorned, and though he appears cool as a cucumber, there’s a simmering rage beneath this mysterious tough guy named Patrick Hill, nicknamed H. The guy who calls him ‘H’ also goes by a nickname, Bullet (Holt McCallany), his new co-worker at Fortico Security, an armored truck company where H just starts working at. I won’t delve into the plot as it’s a run-of-the-mill revenge story you’ve seen done loads of time before.
Since I skipped Revolver, this is the first Guy Ritchie flick set in the US, Los Angeles to be exact. At the beginning of the film, we see a brutal cash truck robbery that turns deadly. It’s not clear just who’s who in this scenario, and the details begin to slowly unfold via intermittent flashback mode that also explains H’s backstory. It was engaging enough at first and I was curious to see just who the heck H is and the connection to the cash truck robbery. I have to say though, the ominous music by Christopher Benstead is aggravating and makes the movie seem way more somber than it needs to be. Overall, the script also takes things too seriously that it takes the fun out of it. In fact, there’s a serious lack of sense of humor that I often associate with Ritchie’s action flicks. In fact, my husband commented even early on that it doesn’t feel like a Guy Ritchie’s movie, even though he’s credited as one of the writers along with Marn Davies and Ivan Atkinson.
I remember halfway through the movie, my mind wander to a hilarious scene in SPY where Statham was poking fun at himself that he’s such a f***ing tough guy that he’s impossible to kill. I miss his sarcastic sense of humor here as some of the supposedly funny banters here just falls flat. Perhaps I was too busy scratching my head as to the point of Josh Hartnett’s character. To say his character is underwritten is a huge understatement, it’s just so pointless. Other familiar faces like Jeffrey Donovan and Eddie Marsan are also pretty much wasted here. As for Scott Eastwood, honestly I just don’t think he’s a strong actor who’s neither exciting nor menacing. SPOILER ALERT: I kind of laugh when I realize he’s the main villain here, I just don’t believe him as a sly guy able to be the last man standing amongst his rag tag crew. Let’s just say, Scott is nowhere near as magnetic as his dad, and I feel like this flick could truly benefit from an actor who can believably go toe to toe with Statham.
At nearly two hours long, the movie also moves along at a sluggish pace while the lead actor seems to be sleep-walking for a good part of the movie. I wish it were at least a half an hour shorter as it overstays its welcome midway through. The plot is simple but yet it feels convoluted, filled with extraneous characters that barely register nor add any meaningful value to the story. It’s also an extremely macho movie where women barely has a place in it–the only time a woman is present, she calls H a very nasty British curse word that starts with a ‘c’ and I kind of think he deserves it. The shoot-em-up at the end is perhaps the only thrilling part of the movie, but that’s because the rest is so grim and lethargic. The action isn’t worth writing about as Statham is pretty much in pensive mode the entire movie. I mean, that’s NOT why we see a Jason Statham movie. The guy is at his best when he’s in full fighting mode. Still, the movie is bloody and hyper-violent, but one that grows more predictable as the movie progresses.
Apparently Wrath of Man is an English-language remake of the 2004 French thriller Le Convoyeur (literally translates to Cash Truck) starring Jean Dujardin. I wish Hollywood would stop making European remakes! I heard Another Round is going to be remade with Leo DiCaprio in place of Mads Mikkelsen, I mean WHY??!! This movie adds nothing new to the action thriller genre and overall is a complete waste of time. I like Statham generally but he’s just so boring here. If you’re a fan of his, just re-watch The Transporter (still my fave action movie with him as the lead). Heck, even Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw is still far more watchable than this turd.