Director: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Jason Statham, Holt McCallany, Josh Hartnett, Andy Garcia, Niamh Algar, Jeffrey Donovan and Scott Eastwood
Run time: 1h 58min
When you choose to watch a film called Wrath of Man, directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Jason Statham, you must have some idea of what to expect. It would be weird if you didn’t. Over 15 years have passed since Mr Ritchie last teamed up with The Stath. That was 2005’s Revolver and now the guns are blazing once more as the boys are back with a brutal, bullet-blasting heist thriller.
Statham is H (no, not that one, Line of Duty fans or that one, Steps fans), an enigmatic security guard working for a cash truck company responsible for moving millions of dollars from A to B around Los Angeles. He’s a man on a mission and through Ritchie’s favoured use of interconnecting timelines, we discover the tragic reasons behind his career choice and why he’s determined to bring to justice a prolific gang of robbers. If the plot sounds familiar, that’s because it’s a remake of 2004’s Le Convoyeur, a French film starring a pre-Oscar winning Jean Dujardin. Ritchie puts his own unique spin on proceedings and has crafted a beautifully shot, slick story that elevates it above other payback actioners.
Many of Ritchie’s directorial and scriptwriting trademarks are in play. The aforementioned timelines and flashbacks, his usual snappy and distinctive dialogue and he sure loves a nickname. But gone is the frivolous, comedic tone found in many of his films such as Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Instead, it’s a more grounded and downright nasty story with Statham using his particular set of skills to do some particularly vicious killing. And, of course, he does it with style and panache. Yes, there are funny moments, but these take a backseat to the serious issues which are the cause of H’s wrath.
As the body count rises, so too does the tension and the bad guys are all suitably evil, particularly Scott Eastwood’s Jan and Holt McCallany’s Bullet. One slight misstep is Josh Hartnett’s rather incompetent Boy Sweat Dave (see what I mean about nicknames?). It’s hard to see how he passed the rigorous and demanding tests to become an employee charged with protecting other people’s money.
Jumping between different periods occasionally brings confusion and several characters become lost amongst this. Indeed, certain plot threads are probably unnecessary when all that matters are the who, how and why of H’s fury. There’s also an air of indestructability to H that defies the boundaries of believability, but I refer you to my opening sentence.
Nothing ground-breaking or new, but a superb piece of popcorn entertainment. Wrath of Man is a down and dirty revenge thriller of the highest order.
Wrath of Man is released in US cinemas from Friday May 7th and in the UK from July 23rd