Director Guy Ritchie and actor Jason Statham are back together again for Wrath of Man, a gangster-revenge-heist-adventure picture, complete with the usual machismo, machine guns and mayhem; but this time their film is sorely missing Ritchie’s usual dark humor and witty dialogue.
Co-written by Richie and based on the French film, Le Convoyeur (Cash Truck), this film begins with a sort of artsy James Bond-ish opening credit sequence and then falls into the director’s typical unorthodox-timeline narrative, going backwards and forwards and all around to where it is sometimes difficult to tell what is happening when. There is a sort of Rashomon feel to the story, but Richie doesn’t fully commit to it.
And speaking of non-committal, there are characters and actors here who are totally wasted in this movie. Specifically, I can’t tell you that “Boy Sweat Dave” (Josh Hartnett) and “The King” (Andy Garcia) did not service the story at all. It seems like such a waste of talent.
Statham, of course, is in the action-anchor of the film and he plays “H,” a “dark f’n spirit” with a “secret” (not so secret) past who is infiltrating an armored-truck business in order to find the person who killed his son during a truck robbery.
And that person is (not really a spoiler here), a bad-guy named Jan (Scott Eastwood), who even has a Sergio Leone, tight shot on his eyes, spaghetti-western type stand-off moment with Statham. It is amazing how closely the young Eastwood resembles his Dad, Clint, in looks, voice and mannerisms.
There is also a weird appearance by singer Post Malone, because… Why not? (I think he contributes a tune for the film, but I never caught it while watching.) And speaking of music, that is one thing this film does have going for it. It has a mesmerizingly excellent score by Christopher Benstead, plus a cool re-mix of Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash – although no one here is in prison. (Are you starting to think there are things that don’t make sense in this movie?)
Another plus for Wrath of Man is its excellent cinematography by Alan Stewart, who comes up with some crazy camera angles in and around the Los Angeles metro-area. Beyond that, this is a run-of-the-mill movie that I think Statham and Richie fans will be overall disappointed with.
By far the biggest issue I have with this film is its lack of humor. It’s ultra-violent and bloody, but Richie knows you have to think that stuff out with humor – especially during these dark times – and he doesn’t even try.