Based on the 2004 French film Cash Truck, Wrath of Man is co-written and directed by Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; Sherlock Holmes; The Gentlemen) and follows H (Jason Statham), a mysterious man who takes a job with an armored truck company. When his truck is held up at gunpoint, H efficiently dispatches the assailants. Who is this guy? We learn his son was murdered in a similar robbery, and he's using his position with the trucking company to find the killers. (118 min.)
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- MYSTERY MAN In Guy Ritchie's Wrath of Man, H (Jason Statham) takes a job with an armored truck company that transports cash, but it's all a ruse to find the thieves who murdered his son in an armed robbery.
Glen A lot of Guy Ritchie's films are violent but cheeky—they feel lighthearted and insouciant. This one, on the other hand, is pretty dark. Even the banter-like dialogue has an edge to it. When H goes into work at the armored car company, his new co-workers razz him, and they're just total assholes. I think the idea is they know their jobs are dangerous, especially since H is there to replace one of two guards killed a few months earlier in the heist that also killed H's son. At first I wasn't sure if I was going to like the film—all the characters were pretty unlikable—but as it moves along, moving backward and forward in time to reveal H's backstory, it became very gripping. I was soon fully immersed and on the edge of my seat. It's also a bit of a whodunit since H believes the heist that killed his son was an inside job. One of these miserable pricks he now works with knows something, and he's determined to find out who.
Anna Statham is awesome as always as a certified badass, brooding and mysterious and built like a brick shithouse. Luckily his character has more to do here than fire limitless bullets into bad guys. There's a story, and it makes us want H to figure out the mystery of the inside man while also taking down the guy who shot his son. The timeline jumps give us the middle of the story first then trace us back through H's life prior to his time at the cash truck company and through the tragic murder of his son, which H can't help but feel blood on his hands for. Vengeance is coming; a seething and determined monster lives in him and has no intention of stopping. His coworkers are wholly unlikeable, perhaps with the exception of Bullet (Holt McCallany), who acts as a sort of avuncular buffer while the rest of the Vanguard crew wants to start brawls with the new guy. It may be a bit thin dialogue wise, but that isn't what this film is here to do. We want to see Statham get some sweet revenge, and it certainly delivers on that front in a gritty, compelling way.
Glen Like most Guy Ritchie films, Wrath of Man is populated by deeply interesting characters fleshed out by terrific actors. All the trucking company workers have colorful names such as Hollow Bob (Rocci Williams) and Boy Sweat Dave (Josh Hartnett), and there's also a side plot with law enforcement: FBI Agent King (Andy Garcia), Agent Hubbard (Josh Cowdery), and Agent Okey (Jason Wong). We also get new casts of characters in the time jumps, such as H's henchmen and the highjack team. It's a lot of moving parts, but this is where Ritchie excels. He manages to make lucid all these characters and jumps through time without confusion. Told in four parts, the story begins with "A Dark Spirit," continues with "Scorched Earth," then "Bad Animals, Bad," and finally "Liver, Lungs, Spleen and Heart." These subheads tie into each segment. There's also a spectacular concluding set piece that's absolute mayhem! This may not be Ritchie's best, but for action and revenge flick fans, this is essential viewing.
Anna It's so fun to be in the theater again, and this movie is a great one on the big screen. It's loud and chaotic and perfect to recline in wide comfort while immersed in the spectacle of it all. Ritchie knows what he's doing and always delivers. Like you said, this may not be his best, but that doesn't make it bad—it's a rip-roaring ride, and even though we learn that H may not be a model Eagle Scout, we're still rooting for him to win. The eye into the heist team is really interesting as well—a group of ex-soldiers who listen to their "Sarge," played by Jeffrey Donovan. In that mix is Jan, played by Scott Eastwood, who's looking more and more like his pops every day. His character is one you loathe off the bat; he does a great job at playing the cold and calculated loose cannon of the group. Maybe it's just the joy of seeing something on an actual movie screen that is giving this a little extra special love in my heart, but I had a blast with this flick. It's dirty and gritty, and the cast is kicking ass and taking names. If you need an excuse to celebrate your COVID-19 vaccine, get into that theater and enjoy the action-packed ride Wrath of Man takes you on. Δ
Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey and freelancer Anna Starkey write Split Screen. Glen compiles the streaming listings. Contact him at email@example.com.