Film Review: Wrath of Man

STUDIO: United Artists Releasing, Miramax, MGM | DIRECTOR: Guy Ritchie | CAST: Jason Statham, Holt McCallany, Josh Hartnett, Jeffrey Donovan, Scott Eastwood, Andy Garcia, Rocci Williams
SPECS: R | 118 min. | Action crime thriller

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  1/2

If it wasn’t for Scottish filmmaker Guy Ritchie, Jason Statham may not have had a career as an action hero. After all, it was Ritchie who cast the former champion diver from England in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, his attention-grabbing 1998 directorial debut.

So, Wrath of Man, a remake of the 2004 French film action-thriller Cash Truck, marks the first time the two have worked together since 2005’s Revolver. They’ve changed things up a bit this time by adopting a more serious tone and delivering a guns-a-blazin’ crime drama sans—for the most part—Ritchie’s quirky sense of humor. In other words, the writer/director’s cynical bon mots and offbeat colorful characters are muted here.

In this grandiosely titled effort, the stoic Statham (Parker) portrays W, a rugged new employee of the Los Angeles-based armored car company. During a robbery attempt, W proves he’s fit for the job, bravely getting in the way of the culprits by showing off his weapon skills, impressing his bosses and seemingly winning over co-worker Bullet (Holt McCallany, Blackhat) while quieting the talkative Sweat Dave (Josh Hartnett, Valley of the Gods) in the process.

What the mysterious and lethal W is doing working for a mobile security company is revealed to the audience through flashbacks, but is unknown to the other characters in the film until late in the game. Ritchie—who was last in top form with 2019’s The Gentlemen following a trip to Disneyland helming the live-action Aladdin—expertly uses L.A. locations, showcasing it with swooshing aerial footage and handheld, earthbound camerawork. Still, this is Statham’s show, limning a man of few words carrying a heavy burden from his past, who aims to use his amazing dexterity and acrobatic skills with firearms to take care of personal issues.

The highlight here is an extended heist sequence that’s runs a good 20 minutes wherein allegiances shift, and most of the film’s major characters, including those played by Eddie Marsan (White Boy Rick) and Scott Eastwood (The Outpost), take part in the fierce, blood-splattered proceedings.

In the end, action fans may want to hoist a pint to toast Guy and Jason getting together again. With apologies to Yogi Berra, Wrath of Man is like déjà vu all over again. Just with less laughs.

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.