Spoilers won’t talk much.
A bad movie experience should not influence the next movie you watch, but life doesn’t happen in bubbles. I probably enjoyed this movie a lot more after having watched the last. You will recognize a few staples from other works, the protagonist is the strong, silent, stoic type and this is about both heists and revenge. As much as that is familiar territory for genre films, the winning part is always the execution. I’m not going to give away much except what you can probably already tell from the trailer, but I did enjoy this film overall.
Wrath of Man (2021) was directed by Guy Ritchie who wrote it with Nicolas Boukhrief and Eric Besnard. After an armoured truck gets robbed leaving people dead, things are on high alert for the company. We follow a new employee named Hill aka “H” (Jason Statham) as he starts his first week, keeping mostly to himself and staying quiet. However, the moment that the truck in which he is in gets robbed, he springs to action and manages to take down all the crooks ruthlessly. While some admire him, others start wondering what’s driving him.
Let me just say, you know all the tricks this film has. The movie starts with a heist, which it will cover again as it showcases the same event from someone else’s perspective and interest. Yes, we’re uncovering the story in layers that are not told in order. Don’t worry, it will eventually resolve itself at the end. Some viewers might enjoy it, some won’t. It’s been done before (and not just by Tarantino) but the important is to do it well. I think the result is quite enjoyable so even if you want a dumb action film, you should give it a chance.
What I first grasped from this film is that although it could be considered a made-to-order Jason Statham feature, it actually takes the trouble to identify and develop all its characters without needing to isolate them. The entire cast has its own moments. Everyone at this truck company has a name and a personality. You have the veteran sensei Bullet (Holt McCallany), the asshole Boy Sweat Dave (Josh Harnett) as well an entire cast of truck drivers, a lot of them not necessarily with a story but they all have names and personalities we do notice in passing. We even get to have an insight into the assailants’ team with leader Jackson (Jeffrey Donovan) and loose cannon Jan (Scott Eastwood).
Let’s start by acknowledging that Jason Statham is the same character every film. That is not a dealbreaker in the least, we always know he’s going to be cool under pressure. H is obviously here for revenge, but don’t expect Statham to break his stoic persona even under duress. I feel obligated to at least give him one thing, he’s not fully invulnerable physically here. On the other hand, I have to commend the rest of the cast for showing some dramatic inclination. McCallany’s Bullet shows a lot of charisma, he’s the wise teacher we all wish we had. Eastwood also stands out in his performance of the unruly Jan, even stealing some scenes. Unavoidably his grimace will draw comparisons to his legendary father’s signature scowl.
There are few cinematographic moments that bring it above average. The opening scene, filmed right from inside the truck. Ritchie does do at least one long take in which he follows a character all the way from the outside to the inside and then switches to a different character to continue the story. At the same time, I feel I am over-praising it. This is still a mostly average action film. Josh Harnett is underused. Andy Garcia is in this film in such short appearances that it’s almost a cameo. The tone shifts between simplicity and wanting to be more of a thriller. Actually the one thing that does irk me is when other characters have to literally tell us that H is a “dark spirit” or something pseudo-heroic. That happens only at the beginning, but at least there’s one character that defined that behaviour in real world terms: I’m afraid he could be a psychopath. That was reality knocking at the door, but don’t worry. It doesn’t come in.
Highly recommended. I feel like this is a decent action film which does add elements of a thriller and heist just in the right combination. It has some decent pacing, it poses a simple premise and then opens up just a few layers. Nothing innovative, nothing too deep, but decently executed. If we want things that might be questionable, I’d say probably the focus on the heist team might have worked better split in two rather than all at once. It also manages to slip in some good cinematographic scenes without calling attention to them. I’d say it’s very much worth your time as a well crafted action movie overall without being epic.
That will do for now.