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Review: ‘Wrath of Man’ is a Gritty, Bullet-Riddled Return to Form for Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham

May 7, 2021Ben MK

The revenge thriller genre is saturated with stories of men avenging their loved ones — whether it's their partners, their children, or even their dogs. In Wrath of Man, however, director Guy Ritchie puts a slightly different spin on the typical testosterone-driven tale of vengeance, mixing it with a heist movie while also giving star Jason Statham plenty of opportunity to do what he does best.

The film opens with the brazen daylight robbery of an armored security truck in Los Angeles, the aftermath of which leaves the truck's two guards, as well as a civilian bystander, dead. Soon after, we meet Patrick Hill (Statham), a man who just so happens to be applying for a guard position at the same armored truck company, Fortico Security, that was hit in the previous scene. Bullet (Holt McCallany), the senior guard paired with Patrick, immediately nicknames him H, and it's not long before the two of them, along with fellow guard Boy Sweat Dave (Josh Hartnett), are out on their first run. But when their truck becomes the target of another gang of thieves, forcing H to use his special set of skills to violently turn the tables of their would-be assailants, the rest of the company starts to question H's true identity and whether he may have an ulterior motive for joining their crew.

To shed some light on that mystery, the movie flashes back five months earlier, where a group of former US soldiers turned muscle-for-hire (Scott Eastwood, Deobia Oparei, Laz Alonso, Raúl Castillo, Chris Reilly and Jeffrey Donovan) have turned to crime to satisfy their desperate need for cash. When stealing from their wealthy clientele doesn't yield a fast enough payoff, though, they focus their attention on the armored vehicles ferrying millions of dollars along the streets of L.A. every day. Of course, their greed eventually gets the better of them. Yet, it's not the cops or an F.B.I. agent named King (Andy Garcia) that they need to worry about. And when the personal nature of H's vendetta against these six is eventually revealed, you can be sure there'll be hell to pay.

To divulge anything further about the plot would risk spoiling some of the film's best surprises. Suffice to say, both Ritchie and Statham are in top form here, with the former delivering a noteworthy twist on his trademark cinematic style, while the latter stoically scowls his way through scene after scene, chewing the scenery with a few one-liners along the way. It's the action-packed climax, however — a bloody battle sequence involving a siege on Fortico's cash depot by bandits in body armor toting heavy artillery — that makes the entire undertaking worthwhile.

The end result plays more like a gritty heist thriller than a story of revenge, which shouldn't be a surprise to audiences given Ritchie's filmography. Either way, Ritchie and Statham's fourth time teaming up doesn't disappoint. Just don't expect another Snatch or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking BarrelsWrath of Man is proof positive that Ritchie can make a movie quintessentially his own without relying on the usual tools in his arsenal.

Wrath of Man releases May 7th, 2021 from VVS Films. The film has an MPAA rating of R for strong violence throughout, pervasive language, and some sexual references. Its runtime is 1 hr. 58 min.

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