Review: Wrath of Man

Wrath of Man is the appropriate title for Guy Ritchie’s new film starring Jason Statham. Ritchie’s previous films, like 2019’s The Gentlemen have elements of crime that feel lighter due to humor and hilarious hijinks. Wrath of Man has no time for jokes. The tone of the film is driven by the main character, H (Jason Statham), whose calm attitude is almost as frightening as his deadly skills.

After H’s son is killed during an armored truck heist, he goes on a warpath to find the man who pulled the trigger. When we’re introduced to H, he’s applying to work for an armored car company that was recently robbed. After getting the job, H is partnered with Bullet (Holt McCallany) and meets the rest of a crew.

It’s not long before H single-handedly stops a truck robbery and is praised as a hero. Although the company is happy, some of the crew becomes suspicious of how skilled he is and wonder if he’s hiding a secret.

This isn’t your typical revenge film. Its one part revenge and one part heist film. Ritchie uses an interesting storytelling technique. Initially, audiences are dropped into a story as H is applying for the job. The story jumps back five months to show what lead up to that. Then, about halfway through the film, the story jumps again to show a different perspective. In less capable hands, this would make the story messy, jumbled, and unnecessarily complicated. Ritchie does a great job using those time jumps and non-linear storytelling to tell a build his characters and tell a compelling story.

The action is very intense. Unlike Ritchie’s previous films, there isn’t comedy infused as a buffer between action sequences. It feels relentless much like the film’s main character. 

H’s Terminator like determination leads to a final showdown with the heist crew and it’s as satisfying and visceral as anything Ritchie has done. The final showdown will draw comparison to last robbery in Heat. Although I don’t believe this scene reaches the level of Heat’s, the fact that it’s drawing comparisons tells you all you need to know about the final scene.

It’s no surprise Statham as H is the engine that drives this film. The surprise performances come from Josh Hartnett as Boy Seat Dave and Scott Eastwood as Jan. I’m not sure if Eastwood has found his calling as an actor yet, but these types of roles might be what he needs. He’s excellent as Jan and his performance adds real value to the film.

Wrath of Man is one of Guy Ritchie’s best films. It’s a departure from his usual comedy filled action capers, but a departure that’s well worth your time. Ritchie is a skillful director that uses Statham and the supporting casts (Andy Garcia, Rocci Williams, Jeffrey Donovan, Niahm Algar, and Laz Alonso) to craft a familiar story that feels original.

Grade: B+