WRATH OF MAN - Reviewed By Dj Mack



It's an action film where the action is rather boring. It culminates in a very anti-climactic conclusion that wasn't exciting at all. It ends too easily for the protagonist, which could be considered subversive. There was no real challenge though. It could be compared to something like John Wick (2014) where everything the protagonist did felt like it was done with very little effort or any real level of difficulty. Yet, the action scenes in that film had choreography and a momentum that audiences keen to that stuff could appreciate. Director Guy Ritchie didn't do anything here that I would argue makes the action appreciative in terms of its choreography or momentum. The staging and execution of the action felt cold, aloof or unemotional. There was no weight to any of the kills, meaning I didn't care about anyone here who died. Even during a scene where a death is supposed to be felt, a scene that's supposed to have some kind of pathos, there was none. It fell flat.
Jason Statham (The Meg and The Fate of the Furious) stars as Patrick Hill or H, a man who gets a job at Fortico, a security company that operates armored vehicles or vans that transport money to various places. He's hired because recently, a bunch of trained thieves robbed one of Fortico's vehicles, killing the men inside. When H is hired, some of the other guys at Fortico question why he behaves the way that he does. H doesn't speak much. He seems very cold-blooded and aloof. He doesn't come across as one's run-of-the-mill security guard. One day when more thieves try to rob one of Fortico's armored vans, H is able to stop them and execute all of them with military-like or even John Wick-like precision.

Holt McCallany (Mindhunter and Lights Out) co-stars as Bullet, a veteran security guard at Fortico. He's the one who tests H during his job interview. Bullet is also the one who works with H as they drive the armored vans from place to place. When Bullet sees H's abilities to use a gun to take out any threat to the vans, the money or even other security guards, Bullet starts to wonder about H. However, the owner of Fortico wants to keep H around and even promote him. Bullet stops questioning it and accepts H at the company. However, the film wants us to question who H really is, much in the way the recent film Nobody (2021) wanted us to question the identity of a man who is more capable of skilled violence than what he might appear. Denzel Washington in The Equalizer (2014) had a similar tact where the protagonist had violent abilities that those around him didn't realize.
However, Nobody and The Equalizer were either stylized in their action or made their action intricate in its staging and choreography. Some of which was hand-to-hand combat, which is always more engaging than sheer gun violence, which is mainly what Ritchie's film here traffics. This would have been fine, if Ritchie's script, which is an adaptation of a French film called Le Convoyeur (2004), had bothered to get me to care about any of its characters, particularly with any of those who die, but especially with its protagonist and his motivation.

Josh Hartnett (Lucky Number Slevin and The Faculty) also co-stars as Boy Sweat Dave or just Dave. He's a fellow security guard at Fortico. This film tries to get the audience to care about him. He's ostensibly a suspect in the mystery of who is behind the robberies of the armored vans. However, the film doesn't make him being a suspect any kind of narrative thread worth considering, so Hartnett's role is easily dismissed. This is endemic of how the film then proceeds to treat all of the characters. Many of whom are played by recognizable actors like Hartnett. They all become fodder, meaningless fodder to be dispatched rather unceremoniously.
Ritchie does attempt to do something that is rather akin to Rashomon (1950). He basically has two-thirds of this film about telling the initial robbery of the armored van. He does so by telling that robbery three times but each time from a different perspective or point-of-view. There's no real point to it. It's supposed to build intrigue, but after the second time depicting the same robbery, it gets obvious as to where it's going and what's going to happen. It just feels like the director is padding out time, which would have been fine, if the film had made us care about what happens in that second time of us seeing the robbery.

Spoiler alert! Spoiler alert! Spoiler alert!

H is revealed to have a son, a teenage son who might actually be college-age. H's son is killed during the initial robbery of the armored van. Unfortunately, the film does a crappy job of establishing the relationship between H and his son. I didn't buy them as father and son first of all. Second of all, the majority of the film depicts H as so cold and calculating that the scene with his son didn't have enough warmth to convey any kind of bond between the two. When the son dies, it was an obvious moment and one that explains H's motives but only on an intellectual basis, not a real empathetic one.
Scott Eastwood (The Fate of the Furious and Suicide Squad) plays Jan, a soldier and veteran of the War in Afghanistan who works with other soldiers to rob the armored vans. He's the one who kills H's son. Once that is revealed, the film feels like it's going to build to a final confrontation between H and Jan. That in fact is what happens, but it's so anti-climactic because H's revenge comes so easily. There isn't even a final fight between the two. The scene is over in what feels like a few seconds. It was totally unsatisfying.

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