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"WRATH OF MAN"
(2021) (Jason Statham, Holt McCallany) (R)


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QUICK TAKE:
Action: A highly trained agent takes a job as an armored truck security officer to find the robbers who killed his son.
PLOT:

Not long after the deadly robbery of an armored truck, a new employee begins working at Fortico, an armored transport company. Nicknamed H (JASON STATHAM) by his mentor there, Bullet (HOLT McCALLANY), the newcomer must contend with the toxic masculinity there -- not just from the likes of Boy Sweat Dave (JOSH HARTNETT), but also one of the few female employees, Dana (NIAMH ALGAR), among others -- but he's more than capable of handling himself. That includes during another attempted robbery when he shoots all the robbers dead.

That has his coworkers questioning who he really is, with none of them aware that he's really the leader of a small group of government mercenaries -- with Mike (DARRELL D'SILVA), Brendan (CAMERON JACK), and Moggy (BABS OLUSANMOKUN) working for him to find those responsible for murdering his son. And they don't realize that the robbers -- led by Jackson (JEFFREY DONOVAN) and consisting of Jan (SCOTT EASTWOOD), Carlos (LAZ ALONSO), Brad (DEOBIA OPAREI), Sam (RAŚL CASTILLO), and Tom (CHRIS REILLY) -- are former military types looking to cash in on their expertise. With them planning the biggest heist yet, H sets out to avenge his son's death.

OUR TAKE: 6 out of 10

Ever since the beginning of human time, storytellers have had a hold on their audiences through the weaving of tales designed to elicit some sort of emotional response. Due to the inherent intellectual limitations back in caveman days -- both for those telling the tales and those taking them in -- early stories were delivered in a straightforward, A to Z fashion.

But at some point -- likely after tiring of telling the same story the same way over and over again -- some storyteller came up with the non-linear way of telling their tale...and likely blew the minds of their audience.

While most screenwriters and filmmakers follow the usual, tried and true formula of weaving their cinematic tales linearly, some prefer to utilize the non-linear approach. I have no idea who's the most proficient at doing so, but a good guess would be Guy Ritchie. While not all his films zig and zag in delivering the plot, he's utilized that in offerings such as "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," "Revolver," "The Gentleman," "Sherlock Holmes" and likely more I'm not immediately remembering.

He continues doing so with "Wrath of Man," the English language remake of the 2004 French dramatic thriller "Le Convoyeur" (which I have not seen). Stripped down to its basic tale (which doesn't take much work), this is -- as the title would suggest -- a revenge flick.

I won't give away the complete whos and whats as they're not immediately revealed until we circle back around in the story, but Jason Statham (reunited with Ritchie for the fourth time) plays some sort of agent -- presumably working for the government and specifically a character played by Andy Garcia -- who's been personally wronged by bad guys and thus is out for revenge.

When we first meet him, he's just landed a job working as a security guard for an armored truck company that's seemingly recently been hit with a robbery that left two employees and a bystander dead. The place is ripe with toxic masculinity like many a military style film where characters have names like Bullet and Boy Sweat; crude, often homophobic insults are bantered about; and otherwise some awkward and stilted dialogue comes out of their mouths.

But H (as his character is nicknamed) proves his mettle and then some when a veteran guy on the team (Holt McCallany) ends up taken hostage at gunpoint and another guard (Josh Hartnett) quickly provides his earlier chest thumping bravado was all bluff. As in most such action films, H quickly and efficiently dispatches the bad guys while barely breaking a sweat.

The story -- penned by Ritchie & Marn Davies and Ivan Atkinson -- then proceeds to drop more details as it expands upon the story with several rewinds to the original deadly heist that eventually introduce the bad guys led by a former military sergeant (Jeffrey Donovan), with Scott Eastwood playing one of his men and looking more and more like his old man. The repeated rewinds certainly make things more intriguing, but let's not kid anyone -- this is just a gussied-up revenge tale that even a caveman (or his action-loving descendants) could easily get into.

That said, the action -- accompanied by a muscular soundtrack -- is done quite well and Statham -- while certainly not stretching his acting skills in what's now a rote sort of role for him -- is as fun to watch as ever. Nothing great but better than it should be thanks to that non-linear format, "Wrath of Man" rates as a 6 out of 10.




Reviewed May 4, 2021 / Posted May 7, 2021


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