Guy Ritchie movies started pretty strong and have been mostly inconsistent in recent years. With his new film Wrath of Man (2021), he reunites with Jason Statham in an action revenge film that manages to be more compelling than the initial premise would suggest. Choosing to tell the story from a few perspectives in a non-linear fashion, Ritchie crafts a narrative that is enthralling to watch as it builds anticipation for some of the engaging set-pieces.
The film begins from a stationary camera inside an armored vehicle as two guys are picking up a drop. It’s not long into their debate about making their own coffee that the truck is stopped and hi-jacked. The two guards are shot in the background while criminals disguised as construction workers empty out the contents of the vehicle – all while the whole scene played from that same stationary camera. It’s a bold choice, but one that pays off later as this robbery is a keystone in many lives that will be shown from different perspectives throughout the film.
H (Statham) joins the ranks of an L.A.-based cash truck company, but just barely passes the entry exams. His first day on the job, he is paired with Boy Sweat Dave (Josh Hartnett) and Bullet (Holt McCallany). Fortunately for the audience, his first day is an eventful one – and they find themselves in the middle of an unrelated heist led by Post Malone! The action scene that follows informs the audience just how dangerous H really is, raising the question as to why he has joined this particular industry.
It’s hard to discuss much else about this film without revealing some of the twists and turns that it takes. However, one of the other perspectives the audience becomes privy to is that of the group who orchestrated the opening heist. Their characterizations and motivations slowly inform the attempt at thematic complexity that Ritchie is going for. There isn’t really an innocent in this world for which the audience can safely hang their support. It isn’t really nuanced, but the point seems to simply state that people are awful and they do awful things, and those who try to be generally good will ultimately be collateral damage to those who are only worried about themselves.
So – an inspirational movie Wrath of Man is not. However, it was very entertaining – and if you like Statham’s stoic bad-ass style performance, then you’ll eat up his character H. He couldn’t be more stoic than this guy, and when he has to take action, it comes so smoothly and simply that it almost seems boring to him. Fortunately, it’s not boring for us. Wrath of Man earns the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.