You have to hand it to Guy Ritchie. Not only the Brit is extremely productive (five studio-backed movies in six years), some of his films are actually good. Not The Gentlemen. Or Aladdin. Or King Arthur: Legend of the Sword… OK, only The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was half decent, but you get the idea.
Ritchie goes back to basics with Wrath of Man: Slick violence, tough men, un-PC behavior. The formula still works. Never mind there’s little substance to the proceedings, the ride is rollicking fun.
Wrath of Men reunites Guy Ritchie with his muse of yore Jason Statham (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch) for a down-and-dirty action thriller. Statham is “H”, a mildly competent security guard hired to join an armored trucks company. A sharp elbows kind of guy, “H” makes friends with the team’s foreman (Holt McCallany, Mindhunter) and clashes with the compulsory hothead (former heartthrob Josh Harnett).
The humorless goon shows more skills than expected when single-handedly frustrates a robbery (granted, one of the thieves is Post Malone, but still). There’s obviously something else afoot, but what?
Wrath of Man features a fair share of twists and turns, which I won’t reveal here. Suffice to say Jason Statham gets plenty of opportunities to growl and puff. An old hand at creating action sequences, Ritchie staging of gunplay is reminiscent of Michael Mann’s Heat, and the comparison is not unflattering. In a supporting role, Scott Eastwood goes full Clint and it’s a joy to watch.
The film is unapologetically testosterone-heavy. The very few women in the cast are either plot devices or exist solely to give texture to the male characters. Another unsavory aspect is the casual bigotry one has come to expect from a Guy Ritchie movie. But because it’s hard to take Wrath of Man seriously (the hardboiled dialogue, the absurdity of the plot), one can easily put those issues aside and enjoy the movie for what it is: A throwback to the 70’s action thrillers minus the social component. Three planets (out of five).
Wrath of Man is now playing in Saskatchewan theatres. Available on demand May 25th.