One question that inevitably comes up when watching an action film starring Jason Statham – is it going to be any different?
Think The Mechanic, Transporter, Crank, and even Fast & Furious, and a certain flair, or monotony starts to crop up – the suave British brawler with a sense of style, quirky one-liners and an attitude that gets annoying really fast.
Thankfully for Wrath of Man, the short answer is yes, this is not your typical Jason Statham movie. While it incorporates the guns-blazing and usual blood-spilling action scenes, it goes for another narrative style to stand out from being the usual popcorn movie. And Statham probably has his good friend Guy Ritchie to thank.
After 20 years of collaborations and friendship, Statham has reunited with writer-director Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Aladdin) since their debut and highly panned film, Revolver, back in 2005. Ritchie’s work with Statham seems to constantly revolve around the same theme though, as Revolver, Snatch, and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, all have something to do with heists or crime in general.
And if something is not broken, why bother fixing it right? Well, Wrath tries to be slightly more stylistic, though we’re not completely convinced it works.
A remake of the French film Le Convoyeur (Cash Truck), the movie revolves around H (Statham), a stranger who joins an armoured truck company in his quest for well, wrath. Even though the casting and movie title gives it away, the plot unravels in a non-conventional style that makes things a little more disparate as audiences follow along.
So what’s H, an average man of mediocre driving and shooting skills, doing at Fortico Security, a security transport company that moves millions of dollars a day. Well, H clearly has something to hide and lo and behold, we soon find that he’s not who he says he is, after a farcical standoff against Post Malone’s in an unnamed role, who is one of several robbers that picked H’s truck, and it goes without saying, poor them.
Things are no longer as simple as it looks, and even though this reveal doesn’t come as a surprise to us, it comes across as being intentional or at least predictable because of the husky dangerous persona that Statham is stuck with.
Where Ritchie comes in, is not in trying to recreate some revenge or action flick, but he’s playing around with disarranged time jumps and interchanging perspectives. Wrath is told in different chapters and timeline, and once you get the hang of it, it offers a certain narrative structure which adds a nice touch to the genre, though it also seems to convolute a really simple story. There are several time-jumps back into the past, and even some to the future, which makes the overall narrative feel like it is trying a little too hard to replicate Christopher Nolan’s uncanny way of storytelling.
Halfway through the movie, we discover H’s true intentions, and for some reason, the perspective changes to that of the antagonists – a bunch of military-trained robbers played by Jeffrey Donovan (Sicario, Hitch, Changeling), Laz Alonso (Fast & Furious, The Boys), Raul Castillo (Amexicano, Cold Weather), DeObia Oparei (Pirates of the Caribbean, Dumbo), and Scott Eastwood (Invictus, Pacific Rim, Suicide Squad), who so conveniently decide to hijack Fortico Security.
Then for some reason, the movie goes through a short backstory of these guys whom audiences have zero attachment to, which makes little sense to the overall storytelling here. So who are audiences supposed to root for, or care for? Ultimately, the audience could care less about them, after investing heavily in H’s badassery and backstory during the first act.
Oh, and after delivering on all these characters, the circumstances of these characters offer no impact in the movie, and while it sheds some light on their intentions, it feels unnecessary and does little to the message of the movie if there was even one, to begin with.
The unclear purpose of focusing on the baddies, coupled with the time jumps suffers a depthless narrative, comes across more as a test for the audience, but as indicated, we know why H is doing what he’s doing and by the time we get to the end, the conclusion feels short-handed and anti-climatic. To put it simply, we would’ve preferred this film a little better if it was just the usual 120 minutes of Statham-kicks-asses.
This unassuming action thriller movie attempted to be something more than it should and it just didn’t work. Wrath of Man could’ve been the perfect recipe for another signature Statham flick, but Ritchie tried to get something more out of it and the result is something of an artistic vision without much depth to it.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
While it was still brutally action-packed, Wrath of Man tried arduously to be something more than a popcorn movie and it backfired.
Story - 7/10
Direction - 6/10
Characterisation - 6/10
Geek Satisfaction - 8/10