James Jay Edwards reviews Wrath of Man, an action thriller film directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Jason Statham. (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, United Artists Releasing)
Action star Jason Statham can thank visionary director Guy Ritchie for his career. Of course, Statham may have been discovered without Ritchie, but the former’s roles in the latter’s Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, and Revolver did speed things up a bit. Now, in 2021, the pair has reunited for Wrath of Man.
Wrath of Man stars Statham as a security guard in Los Angeles named Patrick Hill, who goes by the code name H. H applies for work at an armored car company that has been plagued by a string of daring daytime robberies. When his truck is hit, H proves his value to his employers by fighting off the criminals, becoming a hero in the process. But heroism and glory are not why H took the job. He’s got a personal reason for doing what he does.
(Wrath of Man, theatrical release poster, courtesy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
While Wrath of Man is based on the French film Le Convoyeur, making it a remake of sorts, Guy Ritchie puts his inimitable stylish spin on the story. The screenplay, written by Ritchie along with Marn Davies and Ivan Atkinson (both of whom also co-wrote The Gentlemen with Ritchie), has less of the dark comedy that audiences expect from the director, so what’s left is a highly inventive, action-oriented crime thriller. With Wrath of Man, Guy Ritchie shows that, after his foray into live-action Disney children’s remakes with Aladdin, The Gentlemen was no fluke.
Jason Statham is very much the star of Wrath of Man and, as such, he is the most magnetic performer on the screen. And he’s a complete badass—almost stereotypically so. But he is surrounded by a capable support cast which includes Holt McCallany (Mindhunter), Scott Eastwood (The Longest Ride), Josh Hartnett (Penny Dreadful), Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice), and Andy Garcia (Ocean’s Eleven), all of whom get to flex their muscles a bit as well. While Statham’s H is the character that ties the rest of the group together, lots of familiar faces get into the blood-splattering, fist-slinging, bullet-whizzing fun.
(Wrath of Man, courtesy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
The ensemble cast makes Wrath of Man come off as sort of an anthology film, following the exploits of several different characters and groups as it jumps around in a scattered timeline (yet always letting the viewer know where they are—“three weeks later” or “two months ago”). And those different characters make Wrath of Man everything from a heist movie to a revenge flick. Some attention does need to be paid, but that’s nothing new for Guy Ritchie films. And, also in typical Guy Ritchie fashion, all of the different individual pieces of the narrative fit into place and everything comes together brilliantly in the end.
The only negative thing about the movie is its name. Wrath of Man is about as generic of a title as one is bound to find. Hopefully, it won’t turn people off from seeing it. Because Wrath of Man is both Guy Ritchie at the top of his game and Jason Statham at his butt-kicking best.
Check out the podcast Eye On Horror for more with James Jay Edwards, and also features Jonathan Correia and Jacob Davison.