Combine the guilty pleasures of heist movies, revenge flicks, and Jason Statham mumbling to himself, and you get Wrath of Man.
The testosterone-fueled film from Guy Ritchie is not the usual type of movie we see in multiplexes the first week of May. Any other year, most of the screens at any given theater are reserved for the latest superhero entry. Obviously due to the pandemic, studios are holding some of their blockbusters for a later date. When the world returns to whatever normalcy that it can possibly regain. Until then, we will settle for Jason Statham.
Wrath of Statham
Wrath of Man follows H, a mysterious man, who is starting a job with a cash truck company. As he learns the ropes, his new co-workers feel that something is off about him. They soon learn that he is not as regular as he claims to be.
While in training, there is an attempted robbery on one of his trucks. The robbery is only attempted because it gets thwarted by H, who singlehandedly takes down a team of six in a thrilling sequence. We finally get to see the anger that has been resting below the surface boil over. And when it’s all over, we have a better idea of H’s motivations for being there.
Although he is not a superhero, H operates like one. He can take on multiple people at once, he is seemingly everywhere at all times, and he is feared as soon as people see his face. He gains a reputation like that of Batman.
Taking down bad guy after bad guy (seriously – how often do these kind of robberies happen?), he begins to receive notice from the higher-ups in the company. For some reason, they don’t think it’s weird that this keeps happening. They are just happy that he stops them from getting the money.
Could Have Been Directed by Any Guy
Unlike Ritchie’s previous films, Wrath of Man is pretty much an average action film. It follows a seemingly indestructible man, as he hopes to settle some unfinished business, in the midst of a large heist. It’s all the action film cliches rolled up into one then covered with Jason Statham to really ensure the most middle of the road but still entertaining finished product.
It is kind of amazing how a film with such a basic premise really does entertain. Ritchie is playing the hits for a full two hours but weirdly, he is playing someone else’s hits.
His usual directorial style is hyper-stylized and flashy, full of humor, and loaded with quick cuts. Wrath of Man is not like that. Like, at all. It’s quite a different change of pace for the usually interesting, if sometimes grating, style of filmmaking we have come to expect from Ritchie.
The one real bit of style that is utilized is telling the story in a nonlinear fashion. This can and does make the mystery of H and what his goal is bit more intriguing. Additionally, telling a story in a nonlinear fashion can and does confuse the hell out of me.
Obviously this sort of storytelling can be used in fascinating ways to enhance a film. Even in this one, it truly does elevate the story in some ways. Unfortunately, it also makes the timeline incredibly unclear. Flashing “three weeks later,” “two months earlier,” “five months later,” every ten minutes or so can quickly go from keeping the audience informed to becoming a riddle for them to figure out for themselves.
Guilty Pleasure is Still a Pleasure
Once I got past my annoyance with the time jump title cards, I found myself enjoying the movie. The story is by the numbers but the action scenes are fun and it is interesting trying to figure out who H is, what he is doing, and why.
Even though it is unnecessarily long, the pacing is quick enough that the length isn’t felt all that much. The film hits the ground running and doesn’t really let up at all during the two hours. Like H on his first day at his new job, we are thrown into the story and chug along from there.
This movie won’t go down in film history. It’s a solid entertainer that will likely be forgotten by the time June rolls around. For someone looking to make their grand return to the movie theater, however, they could do a lot worse than Wrath of Man.