Wrath of Man

★★★ ½

Wrath of Man is a hard-hitting, brutal action thriller with mysterious elements. When a man named H, who’s clearly not who he claims to be, joins a cash truck company, he seems like a reckless new guy. It soon becomes clear that H’s incredible skill at killing bad guys who want to rob the trucks means that he must have some ulterior motive.

Patrick “H” Hill (Jason Statham) wants to work for Fortico, an armored truck company that shuttles huge piles of cash around Los Angeles. Despite H’s fairly poor driving and shooting abilities, as well as being a fairly poor team player, Bullet (Holt McCallany) hires him anyway because he’s hard up for employees after a recent Fortico robbery debacle that ended with the death of two of their guards.

H quickly proves himself on the job, easily dispatching villains who intended to rob the armored truck he’s guarding. Suddenly adept at all kinds of killing mayhem, H singlehandedly kills with calculated precision. However, this grand display is not an isolated incident. He seems to relish this kind of brutal self-defense, finding himself repeatedly in harm’s way. A law enforcement officer known as The King (Andy Garcia) catches onto what H is doing but doesn’t want to stop him since the people going down are truly nefarious characters. Fortico is also happy to have a man working for them who is so well equipped to guard their trucks.

But with talk of an inside man who’s working for Fortico, and the tipping off of robbers who want the cash from their trucks, it’s not clear what H is up to at any given moment. Whether he’s planning a grand heist or a grand finale to everyone involved in the pilferage remains to be seen.

Directed by Guy Ritchie (Snatch, Sherlock Holmes) there’s a very dark tone encompassing everything going on in Wrath of Man. A time-twisting tale of revenge served with bullets, he captures the best out of Jason Statham being his worst behaved self. The plentiful action scenes are coolly handled and information is doled out slowly, leaving plenty of room for trying to guess what’s going to happen next.

The film shifts quickly from one scene to the next, journeying through different times and places, although the pacing remains fairly even. This weans out anything remotely boring and allows for more action-packed killing scenes than should rightfully belong in one film.

Incredibly violent with very graphic scenes, Wrath of Man lives up to all expectations from a Guy Ritchie film, which is to say there are very mean ‘baddies’ and plenty of just desserts dished out. Even the good guy is a pretty bad dude, hellbent on killing just about everyone around him. It makes for great cinema though, and combined with a few good plot twists, it absolutely overcomes a few speed bumps in the script along the way and the likelihood that the hero may just be an irredeemably bad human being.

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