BRIT action star Jason Statham first gained fame in ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’, directed by Guy Ritchie. It gave them both worldwide fame and now, after 16 years, they’re reunited in “Wrath of Man”, where Statham goes solo again after being part of the “Fast & Furious” franchise.
“Wrath of Man” is a remake of the 2004 French thriller, “Le Convoyeur”. It starts with a tense action sequence where an armored car is ambushed by masked men who brutally killed the driver and his colleague who are working for a security company called Fortico.
Try to remember as much as you can about this initial scene as it plays a crucial part in the narrative. The movie is told in a non-linear manner and will return to it a couple of times, showing it from the perspectives of other people involved in it.
The credit titles are then shown and they’re done in the style of the James Bond opening credits of old. Statham is then introduced as Hill or simply H. He’s just been accepted as a new security guard in the Fortico armored car company that transports money, replacing one of the guards killed in the opening sequence.
He becomes partner to Bullet (Holt McCallany), who’s very friendly, and Dave (Josh Hartnett, who used to be a teen matinee idol but is now just playing supporting roles), who makes fun of him. H is the silent type and won’t relate much with his co-workers, but he quickly proves how formidable he can be when their van is waylaid by robbers and he single-handedly kills all their five opponents. His colleagues then realize that he’s not just an ordinary rookie guard but a skilled expert in combat.
From here, the movie jumps back and forth in time to show how H is connected with the bloodbath shown at the start of the film. Of course, we will not go into details anymore as it will surely spoil things for you. Let’s just say that H will be facing adversaries not only within their own company but also with a gang of former soldiers in Afghanistan led by their former boss, Jackson (Jeffrey Donovan).
Part of this gang is the triggerman who H is tracking down for personal vengeance, Jan (Scott Eastwood.) Scott is the son of Clint who’s been playing supporting roles for sometime now and catches our attention here for his one-dimensional but over-the-top portrayal of a cold-blooded killer.
H’s frenetic showdown with this ruthless gang is the film’s thrilling climax where a lot of high-powered ammunition is used to summarily blast everyone to pieces, not caring at all who lives or dies. Statham’s super mean macho charisma is working here full blast in his role as the brooding, icy cold, taciturn hero who obviously is carrying such a big chip on his shoulder.
Brace yourselves as the uncommunicative H is not what he appears to be. He has an elaborate back story and has his own private agenda in working for Fortico. The movie itself is a tale full of betrayals and dishonor among greedy thieves. The movie is a well crafted combination of a heist film with a revenge story that will hook you from start to finish.
“Wrath of Man” is produced, co-written and directed by Guy Ritchie, whose work as a director is often hit or miss. We enjoyed his two Sherlock Holmes versions starring Robert Downey Jr. but some of his films are forgettable, like “Swept Away” which he did with his wifey then, Madonna, the inept costume flick “King Arthur” and the disastrous big screen version of the “The Man from UNCLE”.
He now hits paydirt again in the dark thriller that is “Wrath of Man”. The scenes involving rampaging gunplay are well staged and will surely entertain lovers of hard action films. His simultaneously cutting of the scenes showing the planning and the actual execution of the final heist, where things go belly up, is very diverting.