I will give Guy Ritchie’s newest film this much: It is the first film I have seen in some time that revolves around the drivers of big bags of cash.
In heist films, the drivers are very much underappreciated (if not by their employers, then certainly the audience), so the Wrath of Man did have me a tad bit hopeful in that we may get a new type of action packed thriller. Sadly, that is not the case.
After an intriguing opening of a money truck being robbed, we get the title cards that look like they are trying to be in the same realm of 007 (minus a theme song). After our first “chapter card” (well, they don’t say the word chapter in it, but still,) we then flash forward (one of many time jumps) to the new recruitment driver named H (Jason Statham). After just passing the tests at 70 percent (you would think money drivers would have to get at least a 95 percent or so to pass, but nevermind), we see him try (poorly) to fit in with his new teammates. They are given names such as Bullet (Holt McCallany), Hollow Bob (Rocci Williams), and Boy Sweet Dave (Josh Hartnett. Yes, I said Josh Hartnett.) As a surprise to literally no one, it is not long before one of H’s trucks is hijacked, and he kills all of them without a drop of sweat.
There are some other talented cast members, including Andy Garcia, Jeffrey Donovan, and Scott Eastwood (son of Clint). Yet the film leaves too many question marks. I will only get into a few of them. Yes, we do find out about what happened to H (let’s just say it is revenge, which, again, should not surprise anyone). What made me more upset was that we had too many jumps back and forward in time. Maybe I am overthinking this (as I am very prone to do), but if a film says “three months later”, then “two weeks later”, am I wrong in asking if that means “two weeks later” from the present time or the past? The film indeed does make it clear eventually, but very seldom do audience members like the feeling of being jerked around like that.
Now seems as good of a time as any to make a confession: I am not a fan of Jason Statham. Sure, he is able to pull off the whole “tough guy, will beat the crap out of you” character like it was nothing (which is why I hope he is not reading this), but that seems to always be his only characteristic in his roles. Even the way he tends to pull off one liners seems two dimensional at best. There is no depth or charm that we would feel if we heard them from someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger (who had some of the best action film lines than anyone). While I admit to having not seen many of his films, Statham has seemed like the same character I first saw him play in The Transporter (2002) when I was in Middle School.
Speaking of which, parents, the film is rated R most notably for a lot of High School level swearing and severe violence. There is no sexual content (aside from what is in the dialogue). High School and above.
I confess it does seem a bit unfair to director Guy Ritchie in criticizing this film, mainly due to the fact that there are two of his main films that I have yet to see: Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000), both of which star Statham. They are on my radar, and are films I would guess I would enjoy more than some of his other films I have seen, including the two Sherlock Holmes films with Robert Downey Jr. and the mega redundant live action version of Aladdin (2019).
Nevertheless, Wrath of Man is a film that fails to pass many of its said checkpoints.