“Wrath of Man” (2021) is an American action/thriller starring Jason Statham in one of his typical stone cold bad-asses, this time in the form of a mysterious cash truck guard with next level skills.
The movie starts with a Hitchcock-like filmed armored car heist. We see the armored truck guards having a nice old day before you can tell something is up with construction crew and all hell breaks loose. It mostly happens off screen though, with only being able to get glimpses of what is happening from the vantage point of the back of the inside of the truck. It was a very compelling way to lead in. We then jump a few months later where a mysterious Patrick Hill (Jason Statham ) shows up to start work at the armored car company. He barely passes his tests but there is a stone cold seriousness about him. Even if you aren’t expecting him to be a bad ass because it’s Jason Statham you can just tell he’s holding back. That becomes apparent a few months later, denoted by cue cards that are consistently used to break up the movie’s acts, when his crew is caught up in an attempted heist. The cocky young Dave (Josh Hartnett ) who was busting Hill’s stones when he first got there goes into a panic. The senior guard, Bullet (Holt McCallany ) who also trains everyone at the company, is the captured one but sounds like he’s panicking too. Hill meanwhile looks as calm as if he was waiting for coffee at a Starbucks. He methodically handles the half dozen amateur robbers. He does it again a few months later during another attempted heist only this time he disarms the robbers by simply showing his face.
At that point everyone, even we know, that he is way more than meets the eye. We soon learn he got the job because he has a vendetta against the perpetrators of the heist at the beginning of the movie. The why of it is where we are left hanging but not for long. The movie then starts going through a series of flashbacks. The entire middle of the movie in fact are multiple flashbacks to the lives of Hill, who is actually some kind of an organized crime boss, and the crew of ex-military amateur robbers who pulled off the first heist. We learn that Hill was at the scene of the first heist, ironically scoping it out for his own crew to rob at some point in the future, but his son was killed in the melee. That is the source of his blood lust. All those flashbacks leads into the final act which is the heist of all heists, the robbing of the armored car company itself and Hill finally getting revenge for the original heist.
I’ve never seen a Guy Ritchie film so I’ll just have to assume that this is his usual style. In many ways it worked well for me. The score was great at amplifying the emotions of the movie. The not laying everything out all at once was good as well. I’m torn on the flashbacks though. While I appreciated the depth we got into the various characters it felt like the whole middle of the movie ground to a halt. I get that they wanted to show how horrific he didn’t mind being in interrogations but did we need to see three versions of that? I get that we want some back stories of the villains too but couldn’t that have been spaced in a more linear way so that we didn’t have to see the original scene three more times? Looking at Ritchie’s repertoire it’s clear these are his type of movies and the sharpness of the action scenes I think showed that.
While I enjoyed many aspects of the movie I’m not sure I ever need to see it again. Because it slipped down below that threshold I’m going to give it 5/10.