Jason Statham is back on the big-screen and once again, he’s teaming up with his old buddy Guy Richie to bring us “Wrath of Man”. I love both Statham and Richie. I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed (outside of “Revolver”) every project they have collaborated on, so I was excited for this flick to deliver all the fun elements of a tense actioner. It certainly provides plenty of Statham’s trademark bravado. However, like with every Guy Ritchie film, the traditional story is told with a nonlinear approach, and it’s splashed with edginess. But does this fifth Statham/Ritchie collab deliver a winner?
Where “Wrath of Man” Thrives
Throughout Statham’s career he has been comfortable in ensemble movies. Outside of “The Meg” he’s spent most of his time in recent years kicking it up in the “Fast & Furious” franchise. But with “Wrath of Man” Statham shows he can still carry a film on his own because he was without question the best part of this one. He plays a man of mystery that takes a job working armored trucks. You know there’s a hidden motive behind why he’s there, yet Statham’s stoic performance effectively keeps you in the dark. Moments here he feels like a good guy. Others he feels like a bad guy. But regardless of which he was 100% cool, calm, and calculated, which worked perfectly for this role.
It’s a conventional story-line that still provides solid moments of unpredictability which does equal some fun. Even if these spots don’t necessarily impact the overall plot. I would say there are a handful of unique pieces to this routine story that do manage to maintain a modest amount of curiosity and interest in what was going to happen, and how the characters would close out the story. Everything together blends nicely into a tense and equally gritty crime-thriller with fierce injections of violent action to keep the energy up. There’s a sprinkling of hand-to-hand confrontations, gun-play, and multiple story-layers that I felt summed up to a gripping outing in the world of armored truck heists.
The nonlinear progression of the story was able to keep the intrigue up for the most part. You get pieces of the overall plot in the present. Then it drops in the backstory to allow the pieces information to fall into place. Admittedly this can often result in a jumbled plot-progression, but here it worked to keep the adventure going. Information is sprinkled in with a timely fashion, and it doesn’t over chop the story. There’s still an evolution to the plot, as well as the foundation of Statham’s character to invest in as they move forward that I very much relished in a fan of this sub-genre.
I felt Ritchie was able to leave his styling on this film, yet it was much tamer than what you may be accustomed to with his films. It certainly has an edginess, and a style to it that creates a charming atmosphere for the subject matter. All of which is delivered in an unassuming package. It holds up nicely as a tightly-written actioner with appealing tones of mystery. Visually it delivers that’s needed as well. The action is crisp, well-framed, and given a smooth visual flow through capable camerawork. So, here Ritchie was able to showcase some traditional film elements, without completely abandoning his usual stylistic approach behind the camera.
Where “Wrath of Man” Stumbles
Like I mentioned the story was a bit traditional. It’s able to provide plenty of intrigue while watching. But by the time the credits roll, it does feel slightly long-winded and overly complicated for the story it wanted to tell. I think the pacing could have been tightened up a bit. I enjoyed the cast. I think the performances made the most out of bland characters. But they weren’t able to bring enough of their own personality traits or charisma to make any of them interesting. So, outside of the appealing mystery to Statham’s quiet persona, there weren’t really any characters to care less about. With a few forecasting their purpose in the plot well in advance. Which does make some of the film’s overall impact fall a little flat as the twists and layers of deception play out.
Final Verdict of “Wrath of Man”
Despite some of its weaknesses, there is more than enough for viewers to chew on with this latest Statham action-romp. The progression of the story and slowly learning more about who and what Statham’s character is up to in this plot delivers plenty of cinematic fun to dive into. It’s violent and continually evolving. Even if it is slightly over-layered. Statham does command the screen with his gruff demeanor to entertain action movie lovers and I would say those looking for an action-thriller cut with effective suspense as well. So, “Wrath of Man” was certainly worth the time. I was already excited to see this one, and I must say it was a delight to have it give me much more than I was expecting.
Anthony J Digioia II - SilverScreen Analysis © All Rights Reserved.