A cold-blooded crime boss infiltrates an armored truck
company to find the gang of thieves that murdered his son.
Wrath of Man (2021)
Directed by Guy Ritchie
Written by Guy Ritchie, Marn Davies, Ivan Atkinson
Starring Jason Statham, Holt McCallany, Rocci Williams,
Josh Hartnett, Jeffrey Donovan, Scott Eastwood,
Andy Garcia, Eddie Marsan
Remake of 2004's Cash Truck
Wrath of Man was the long-awaited return of the London gangster subgenre's dynamic duo: Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham. The two hadn't collaborated since 2000's Snatch, one of Ritchie's best. On top of that, this seemed like a perfect vehicle for Statham to continue his ongoing mission of being an absolute badass. And in that respect, the film accomplishes its mission. But it never once feels like a Guy Ritchie movie, and the plot is incredible generic and predictable. But that's the thing with heist films. It's tough to be original in a subgenre that's been done to death.
Statham plays H, a cold, quiet, mystery man who takes a job with an armored truck company. On his first day, he stops a heist on the truck and kills six would-be thieves, one of which is Post Malone for some reason. From then on, we're led to believe there's more to H than meets the eye. What he is is a feared crime boss whose son was killed in a heist months ago. He's joined the company to find the inside man responsible for the heist. Then, we get a jarring change in pace as we are introduced to the thieves, and we see the story from their perspective. Not a bad idea in theory, but the shift is so jarring and there's no buildup to it. And we're left in the dark on who the mystery man is for most of the movie, even though it's so damn obvious from the get-go.
Wrath of Man isn't a bad movie, but it's hardly a great one either. It's a generic heist thriller that Statham is basically sleepwalking his way through because this is his jam. I would've hoped that reuniting with Ritchie would give them both a creative, original, film on par with Snatch or The Gentlemen. But this feels like a work-for-hire for them both, and I know it could've been better.
Wrath of Man marks two pretty cool things in cinema. First, it is the follow-up feature for director Guy Ritchie after his excellent return to form in The Gentlemen. Second, it is the most recent collaboration between the director and his star, Jason Statham. Considering how amazing their prior ones were, I was pretty excited for this newest one. See, Ritchie did an excellent job of showcasing a very different side of Statham. One which required him to act with dialogue more and fists less. Since then, though, both have gone on to become pretty big names. The actor becoming an action star and the director releasing big budget blockbuster hits. So, with all that in mind, how do these two fare after almost two decades apart?
Initially, considering the style of Ritchie’s previous films, this newest one feels extremely subdued. And not in the best way. See, he does the usual naming of the characters and sets them up to be larger than life, but they don’t really stand out in any significant way. The only one who seems to be trying to be a character is Scott Eastwood. While he hasn’t impressed me in the past, he is downright brilliant here at playing someone who is clearly not to be trusted. This, unfortunately, also extends to the main star. Whereas the prior collaborations gave us something different from Statham, this one just seems to be content to give in to his persona. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still entertaining to watch, but a disappointment in comparison to the previous films.
For the most part, this isn’t a terrible film. It’s still a lot of fun to watch, extremely well-acted, and keeps you engaged throughout. But the central mystery isn’t all that mysterious thanks to the trailers. Ritchie seems to be holding back on his style. And I found this to be the weakest collaboration between the director and star. Maybe the next time they team up, we’ll get something special again.