Jason Statham action films are really a genre within their own right. They deliver rather simple cinematic pleasures, but they're always successful in what they want to accomplish. His work with director Guy Ritchie is what many consider to be the best of the Statham bunch. Their latest collaboration, "Wrath of Man," may not be the pair's strongest, but its theatrics are so different than the experience is more than rewarding. We follow Statham's character "H" as he gets a job working for a cash truck company in Los Angeles. Responsible for moving hundreds of millions of dollars around the streets of L.A, H's associates realize there's more to him than meets the eye.
"Wrath" isn't really isn't the typical zany gangster film we expect from Ritchie. It's a much more calculated and menacing revenge picture with no real good guys. Everyone is involved in some relatively shady dealings that come back to haunt them in various ways. We definitely receive the comedic flourishes we've come to accept from one of Ritchie's gangster films. The only difference here is that instead of petty London crime, we get a revenge thriller. Thankfully Statham really makes the of the material with his performance here.
If you haven't seen the trailer for "Wrath," the best advice one can give to avoid it. We're thrown into the deep end of the story without having much explained from the get-go. Statham does what audiences expect as the brooding no name until we reach the 45-minute mark. Like many of Ritchie's films, the characters start by knowing more than any of them let on. This can be quite frustrating as an audience member, especially if you don't know him as a filmmaker. It's entertaining to watch the pieces, but is quite muddled in slowly connecting the plot for the audience. What's hard to admit is that even with no knowledge of what's going on, the story is still thoroughly entertaining.
Watching the story start to connect was an exhilarating watch that reminds us why Ritchie's movies work. There's such an entertainment value in the broad crime elements that are thrilling from start to finish. Seeing Statham do what he does best is just as exciting in the hands of such a capable director. Especially in the film's third act, when the slow-burning tension becomes so palpable that it's hard to look away once it boils. This film proves Ritchie and Statham have accomplished the exact sort of story they want to deliver. Instead of a sly cockney gangster flick, we get that style wrapped up in a Charles Bronson tough guy package. It's because of this that I was able to forgive the more lackluster narrative shortcomings.
In Guy Ritchie's filmography pantheon, "Wrath of Man" doesn't quite reach the highs of his earlier works. The reason is that what's being done here is a rather new territorial ground compared to what audiences expect. It doesn't always work, but when it does, "Wrath" becomes one of the more entertaining films I've seen this year. Being a Jason Statham completionist, I try to see just about everything he's attached to. We, unfortunately, don't reach the top-tier Statham category here, but we definitely get one of his more entertaining films. You can clearly see that Ritchie is the one filmmaker that allows Statham as a performer to find different shades in the "tough guy" persona. It's a rather simple notion that allows the film to rise into a thoroughly entertaining package that knows what it wants to be.
Watch Trailer Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFYEni2gsK0