After flirting with Arthurian legend and live action remakes of Disney animation Guy Ritchie returned with great success to the gangster genre with which he established his reputation with The Gentlemen in 2019. His latest film is another crime thriller; this time he gives us a solid heist thriller that will remind audiences of the recent Gerard Butler actioner Den of Thieves. Wrath of Man also reunites Ritchie with star Jason Statham for their fourth collaboration, and their first time working together since 2005’s Revolver.
Since his early roles in films like Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Statham has established himself as one of the main and lethally capable action stars of cinema today, appearing in franchises like The Expendables and The Fast & The Furious as well as smaller more independent movies. Wrath of Man is right in his wheelhouse as he plays yet another taciturn tough nut, hard to kill type, an antihero who delivers the wicked one liners as he dispatches the villains.
Statham plays Patrick Hill, known as “H”, who lands a job as a security guard with Fortico, an armoured car company that collects large amounts of cash from businesses all over Los Angeles. When the film opens one of their cars has been robbed in a well-organised heist that leaves two security guards and a driver and a civilian dead. H however has his own motivations for taking on this job. It turns out that he is out for revenge against the robbers who killed his son Dougie during the heist. Believing that the thieves had some inside help in setting up the robbery, H’s mission is to work within the company and learn the identity of the inside man.
He has a special set of skills and he proves his effectiveness when he foils another robbery attempt. However, the company’s personnel officer Terry (Eddie Marsan, another Ritchie regular) has some suspicions about H.
Wrath of Man is a loose remake of a 2004 French drama from Nicholas Boukhrief entitled Le Convoyeur (The Cash Truck), but Ritchie and his regular writing collaborators Ivan Atkinson and Marn Davies have transplanted it to Los Angeles. This testosterone fuelled film has a very Hollywood feel to it with a high body count and lots of automatic weaponry, and a climactic shootout in the armoured car company’s secure headquarters that will remind many of the gun battle in Michael Mann’s Heat. Nonetheless the film is still full of many of his signature touches – the witty banter, that hard talking characters, the amoral villains, and the flashy visual style with lots of flashbacks, and one key scene is replayed several times from different perspectives with each replay adding more clarity.
There is some superb cinematography from Alan Stewart that captures the streets of Los Angeles and gives them a warm but seedy look and feel. The action has been slickly edited by regular collaborator James Herbert, and, as usual, Ritchie nicely ties up all the loose ends.
H is another of Statham’s familiar role as the brooding tough guy, and he brings a nice physicality to the role. While Statham is the top billed star here, Wrath Of Man is more of an ensemble piece. Jeffrey Donovan (recently seen in The Honest Thief) is Jackson, the leader of a band of former soldiers who feel disenfranchised and have turned their hand and skills to robbery to supplement their retirement. But they are planning one final big score with a daring heist on the armoured car company’s storage facility. Clint Eastwood’s son Scott plays Jan, one of the villainous crew here – he is psychopath and a loose cannon whose actions jeopardise the unit. Young Eastwood looks eerily like a younger version of his iconic father, right down to the squint, the grimace and the gravelly growl.
Holt McCallany has a strong presence as Bullet, H’s mentor and trainer at the armoured car company. The supporting cast includes rapper Post Malone; Josh Hartnett, who we haven’t seen much of on the big screen in recent years; and Andy Garcia, who brings authority to his small role as an FBI agent investigating a series of violent armoured car robberies.
Wrath of Man may not be Ritchie’s best film but it certainly delivers plenty of visceral thrills.
Other reviews you might enjoy:
- Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre – movie review
- King of Thieves – movie review
- Den of Thieves – movie review
Greg King has had a life long love of films. He has been reviewing popular films for over 15 years. Since 1994, he has been the film reviewer for BEAT magazine. His reviews have also appeared in the Herald Sun newspaper, S-Press, Stage Whispers, and a number of other magazines, newspapers and web sites. Greg contributes to The Blurb on film