Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham are back, and they’re seriously ready to take names with Wrath of Man, a dark and brutal action thriller that has taken the choke chain right off. And the result is a beast of a movie that is ready to bite!
A mysterious and wild-eyed new cash truck security guard named H (Jason Statham) surprises his coworkers during a heist in which he unexpectedly unleashes precision skills. The crew is left wondering who he is and where he came from. Soon, the marksman’s ultimate motive becomes clear as he takes dramatic and irrevocable steps to settle a score.
In Wrath of Man noted writer-director Guy Ritchie applies his unique brand of filmmaking to an intense and dark story of bloody revenge. As a filmmaker who is all business, and deeply devoted to his craft, Ritchie brings everything to the table with Wrath of Man and he anties up in good form. Taking inspiration from 2004 French film Le Convoyeur, Ritchie reshapes the narrative into Wrath of Man, a no-holds-barred dark-noir revenge, action thriller that delivers one hell of a punch and hits with the force of an M4 on full auto. Blending together a group of dangerous villains, and a compelling story, Ritchie never eases off the tension with this one, and re-teaming with long time friend and collaborator Jason Statham results in one hell of an intense watch.
Ritchie makes Wrath of Man his darkest and most brutal film to date and he uses his own unique film stylings and the length and breadth of the film noir genre to help him accomplish it. This film is film noir that cuts right to the bone, and with a narrative that features bad men doing bad things, Ritchie is able to take things right to the edge. Cinematographer Alan Stewart gives the film it’s own unique swagger and cool, while composer Christopher Benstead’s dark and moody score builds out the atmosphere that guides H’s deadly hand as he exacts his brutal plan for vengeance.
Jason Statham got his start with Guy Ritchie’s cult classic gangster film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrells, and both men have come a long way since its 1998 release. Now regarded as one of Hollywood’s biggest action stars, it’s excellent timing to see Statham re-teaming with Ritchie for Wrath of Man and these two old pals don’t waste a second with this one. As H, a mysterious and highly-skilled stranger, Statham oozes brooding cool as this dangerous and calculating individual and when he starts to go to work, the bodies soon pile up, and his ultimate agenda reveals itself piece by bloody piece.
Ritchie knows how to use Statham in the best way possible and he lets him work his brutal magic as the mysterious H. And this is a character who will scare and enthral you all at the same time. Wrath of Man is Statham’s darkest film to date and he brings this unhinged and stalking animal predator quality to H as he goes through the motions of hunting down those he holds responsible for a great tragedy in his life and the results will have audiences hooked. Statham is the ultimate anti-hero in Wrath of Man and he gives a seriously intense performance with material that works for him in all the right places.
Providing a great measure of support within Wrath of Man is an eclectic group of supporting characters who all have their moments to shine. There’s Holt McCallany as the affable, working stiff Bullet who has the run of the depot and all of its inner workings. Josh Hartnett changes things up as the cocky and loud-mouth Boy Sweat Dave, who isn’t as tough as he pretends to be and quickly ends up on H’s shit list. And then there’s Niamh Algar as the tough-talking and capable Dana, the only woman working in the depot and who quickly earns the respect and admiration of H. Ritchie lets all of these performers shine in their roles and each as their role to play in this dark and twisting narrative.
Facing off against Statham’s mysterious H are a crew of technically proficient and dangerous armed robbers lead by the calculating Jackson (Jeffery Donovan) who has his eyes set on the cash truck business. Donovan’s Jackson brings a keen sense for strategy and tactics to the table and it’s a role he excels in. But while Donovan’s Jackson might be the brains behind the operation it’s Scott Eastwood’s Jan who is the trigger man. And he’s one dangerous foe to contend with. Best described as a cold and calculating psychopath with a hair-trigger temper and itchy trigger finger, Eastwood excels as this full-on bad guy who is the real impulse of his particular crew and he’s a hell of a lot of fun to watch up on screen because of it.
Ritchie and his team crank up the action with Wrath of Man and this is one film that goes downrange with plenty of spent led. A combination of sophisticated action set-pieces and in-your-face-violence marks Wrath of Man out as something different in our current cinema age and when the bullets start flying prepare for your adrenaline to spike. Ritchie again uses action as narrative and when we see H behind the barrel of a G-36 the results are explosive and deafening all at the same time. Ritchie wastes no time in seriously cranking this one all the way up and the action is delivered with the director’s trademark intensity that results in one hell of a show.
In terms of its thematic quality, the idea of vengeance, a visceral and in-your-face vengeance is thoroughly explored as are the inner workings of different sets of the criminal underclass. Ritchie also explores the ideas of villain vs villain instead of the usual hero vs villain motif and I must say that this narrative exploration makes it that much more interesting as a narrative presentation. We view the entire length of H’s vengeance throughout this movie, and it’s interesting to see the emotional impact that it has upon this cold and distant character through the interactions and relationships held between fathers and sons, and Wrath of Man is a film that certainly has an effect on audiences who watch it.
Wrath of Man is a revenge film with a capital R and this film delivers an uncompromising dose of gritty action that will make you sit up and take notice. You won’t find a more badass film to watch this year than this one.
Image: Studio Canal