It is unclear whether Jason Statham represents ‘Man’ collectively with his wrath, or whether his wrath as a singular man is being addressed in grammatically blunt terms.
Either way, the Statham and Guy Ritchie pairing have sacks of gravel thrown over them in reverse heist movie, Wrath of Man.
What Is Wrath of Man About?
Patrick ‘H’ Hill (Statham) is the new recruit for Fortico Security. Fortico operate armoured trucks that collect and move large sums of cash around Los Angeles, and after one was attacked leaving several dead the company is in need of new guards.
Monotone and serious, H barely passed weapon training, but his vitriolic reaction to an attempted robbery proves he has far more capability than he is letting on.
Statham doesn’t need to stretch himself much as the gravel voiced hard man with a job to do. The plot’s role is to mask the nature of what he is up to for long enough to keep our interest, which director Ritchie manages by shifting timeframes in order to fill in the detail bit by bit.
There is none of the quick fire editing nor jiggling between shot speeds that were the hallmarks for Ritchie’s early career. Wrath of Man has a consistent, ominous, tone of impending doom thanks to slow tracking shots and Statham’s furrowed brow.
Such is the singular strength of Statham’s purpose that most other characters don’t get a look in. Senior guard ‘Bullet’ (Holt McCallany, Mindhunter) fizzes like a couple of Alka-Seltzer to plug silences with upfront charisma, sure.
Otherwise, ‘Boy Sweat’ (Josh Harnett, as nicknamed by Bullet) has a petulant part that goes nowhere, and Dana (Niamh Algar) plays a female guard (which is pretty much the summarisation of her character).
Wrath Of Man Official Trailer
Is Wrath of Man Worth Watching?
Despite dancing around Statham’s ulterior motives for taking the job, Wrath of Man is thin on the ground.
An attempt to drape over an extra layer of intrigue is as interesting as the blink-and-miss-it screen time it is given (hello Andy Garcia, goodbye Andy Garcia!) when all the movie is doing is filling time between big action sequences.
There is no denying that Ritchie can direct an action sequence. Whether it is Statham’s explosive violence against would be thieves or a lethally calculated siege on a business, each impact is felt with full painful realism. The sombre tone of Wrath of Man extends to such moments: we aren’t here for fun.
Yet as well shot, edited, and realised as the action is there is one ingredient missing: stakes. Due to the film not being interested in the majority of its characters it is hard to care about their ultimate fates.
Similarly, Statham never once is under any threat of losing. He has pinpoint gun accuracy, is a mechanically efficient fighter, and thinks strategically. He’s never particularly surprised, outclassed, or out thought.
Wrath of Man chugs along until he has the information he needs, and then – several steps ahead – he efficiently goes about his business.
Ritchie may have gone gritty in this movie, but his star is never actually in the level of danger that, say, ‘Bacon’ in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrells found himself in. You can’t be edge of seat if the movie is a comforting chair covered in reassuring cushions.
Wrath of Man, for all its serious frowns, is ultimately more throw away than Ritchie’s more light-hearted movies because big action set pieces mean little without overt style or characters to care about.
Here’s an idea, how about making this into a franchise? Next up, Sloth of Man, to be followed by Gluttony of Man please.
Words by Mike Record
Cast Of Wrath Of Man
Jason Statham as Patrick “H” Hill
Holt McCallany as Haiden “Bullet” Blaire, a Fortico guard
Josh Hartnett as “Boy Sweat” Dave Hancock, a Fortico guard
Jeffrey Donovan as Jackson Ainsley, former platoon sergeant
Scott Eastwood as Jan, former military, led by Jackson
Andy García as FBI Agent King
Eddie Marsan as Terry Rossi, a Fortico manager
Niamh Algar as Dana Curtis, a Fortico guard
Rob Delaney as Blake Halls, Fortico boss
Post Malone (Austin Post) as a robber
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