Straight Line: Our Review of ‘Wrath of Man’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - May 07, 2021
Straight Line: Our Review of ‘Wrath of Man’

Sometimes…you’ve just got to get biblical with it…

While Wrath of Man isn’t without some flaws, it is a full on dead serious action flick that doesn’t flinch at making sure we get more than a little uncomfortable with the swath of violence that is being unleashed on screen.

A mysterious and wild-eyed new cash truck security guard (Jason Statham) surprises his coworkers during a heist in which he unexpectedly unleashes precision skills. The crew is left wondering who he is and where he came from. Soon, the marksman’s ultimate motive becomes clear as he takes dramatic and irrevocable steps to settle a score.

A certainly untraditional effort from Guy Ritchie; Wrath of Man is straight up hard core and serious as all hell as it follows Jason Statham’s character down a rabbit hole of unrepentant vengeance.

Skipping the traditional sense of humor that typically embeds Guy Ritchie’s films, Wrath of Man unrepentantly goes for the jugular from minute one in making something that feels more like Heat then Snatch.

It doesn’t always work as the screenplay from Guy Ritchie, Marn Davies and Ivan Atkinson can’t resist the urge to slide in the slightest bit of silliness along with some pacing hiccups from time to time but with action sequences that are so well staged it’s easy to let some of the more awkward moments slide.  None of it is perfect but it has genuine purpose as it builds us to a climactic showdown with its simmering modern noir pulp, I’m also certain that had this been made in the 50’s it might have had Alan Ladd and Fred McMurray on the hunt for revenge instead of Statham.

While it’ll never be accused of being the most original film in the Guy Ritchie canon, it might also be the purest action movie he’s ever made as it spares no expense and keeps us engaged on the spectacle of violence from minute one mostly thanks to Statham.

As good as it all looks and as well staged as it all is, Wrath of Man works because Statham goes the other direction here and doesn’t give us his a-typical wise cracking action hero.  Instead we get a portrait of a good man, in a bad world pushed to an even darker place.  His character is singular of focus…period and even when the narrative jumps around to fill in a few blanks in the story we never deviate from the straight line that is this man’s vengeance.  Statham is actually doing his best image of Charles Bronson and Clint Eastwood in this film, and it words pretty damn well.

Sadly Statham is the only character here who really gets a chance to breathe and show multiple dimensions from top to bottom.  With the likes of Holt McCallany, Josh Hartnett, Jeffrey Donovan, Andy Garcia and Laz Alonzo all around in hopes of giving us some more character depth, we barely get there as only McCallany and Donovan get some moments to shine around Statham on his singular minded quest for revenge.  Scott Eastwood does get a couple of more moments to shine establish a bit of a darker edge to his character, but we don’t get enough of it and when we do it’s kind of clunky.  Without our favorite British action hero, this film would have devolved into a caricature of itself.

If you are somewhere where theatres are open for business…then Wrath of Man is a hell of a violent ride that you can’t help but understand and even relate to as Ritchie and Statham bring us along this straight line that only ends in one place…revenge.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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