Synopsis – The plot follows H, a cold and mysterious character working at a cash truck company responsible for moving hundreds of millions of dollars around Los Angeles each week.
My Take – Right from the moment I finished watching Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), I have remained an admirer of British filmmaker Guy Ritchie. An admiration which ran deeper with Snatch (2000), took a slight reverse turn with the Golden Raspberry Award winning Swept Away (2002), and found its way back on track with Revolver (2005), RocknRolla (2008) and so on.
Though I personally despised his billion dollar earning live action remake of Disney‘s Aladdin, I have continued to remain a Guy Ritchie advocate to an extend that I even fiercely lapped up his unfairly bombed works, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017).
Hence, one can imagine the amount of excitement I possessed when it was announced that following the success of his slick back to basic gangster flick, The Gentlemen (2019), he would reuniting after 15 years with Jason Statham for the remake of Nicolas Boukhrief’s 2004 French film Le Convoyeur aka Cash Truck.
Though as a fan I personally found it far from director Ritchie‘s best works, nevertheless it doesn’t discount the fact the heist-centric actioner is a congenial hard-boiled ruthless film that also provides Statham some of the best material to work with in years.
In many ways follows the classic definition of a revenge thriller and doesn’t exactly take the action genre to new heights, yet, the film’s genuinely great set-pieces that ramp up to a pulse-pounding finale, stylized shoot ’em ups, and Statham‘s display of unrelenting ruthlessness, turns this into an entertaining crime thriller fare that is sure please all genre diehards.
After opening with an armored vehicle heist that ends in gunfire, the story follows Patrick Hill (Jason Statham), dubbed ‘H’, a mysterious and quiet man who applies to work at Fortico Security, a company responsible for trucking around millions of dollars of cash per day. Though he barely passes the truck driving and shooting tests, to the satisfaction of his on-job supervisor, Bullet (Holt McCallany), H is quickly welcomed in, even managing to rub his co-worker, Boy Sweat Dave (Josh Hartnett), an over-compensating douche bag, in the wrong way.
However, on his first run H manages to surprise his cohorts with a brutal display of skills and ruthless efficiency by quickly dispatching a gang of would-be robbers targeting his truck. While he is being celebrated by his fellow security grunts and an extremely enthusiastic Fortico owner (Rob Delaney), it slowly becomes clear that the job is only a cover for H, whose true motivation is to hunt for a specific man who hurt him rather personally.
With some bleak but atmospheric cinematography from Alan Stewart, some moody and effective scoring from composer Christopher Benstead and some grizzled performances, the film manages to be a solid all round package that benefits from director Ritchie‘s experience hands as he delivers a non-linear examination of what lead H down this new employment path and who exactly is behind a string of well-oiled robberies taking place across Los Angeles.
Sure, in comparison to their previous team ups, which included some of the filmmaker’s signature flare, their latest is a more generic, straightforward revenge flick that is more of Statham vehicle as opposed to a director Ritchie. However, the film stays fresh by switching modes. At first, it seems like a story about solving a crime, then it becomes a revenge story, then the story quickly switches out of that and becomes about the search for a murderer.
Given the nature of the plot, the film is frequently shocking, brutal and explosive in ways that are often familiar yet different from what one would expect. It becomes clear that H’s personal mission comes from a place of great heartache and pain, as is revealed cleverly across the course of the film, seeing the same armored car robbery from three different perspectives: from inside the back of the vehicle with limited vantage points of the worst of the violence; from the perspective of the small army of very organized thieves; and finally from the point of view of the innocent victims who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
As the film treads back and forth in its timeline across its 119 minutes, the final act culminates in an extended heist sequence that speaks to the film’s violent, unpredictable nature.
Yes, the ending doesn’t work as well as it should, and the supposed big twist, is almost no twist at all, and you’ll likely peer through its predictable ending way before the horizon is even in sight, and it would have been a stronger film if it had ended 10 minutes sooner. Even the almost non-existent wise-cracking leaves us feeling a bit adrift due to expectations, but the result is a fine, as the uncertainty that director Ritchie laces the viciousness keeps everything incredibly exciting throughout.
Performance wise, Jason Statham continues to prove why he remains one of the great action stars of our times, with Holt McCallany bringing a sturdy turn, and Scott Eastwood being effectively villainous. While Josh Hartnett manages to pull a steady act, his character is terribly written for him to do anything about it. In other roles, Andy Garcia, Jeffrey Donovan, Eddie Marsan, Laz Alonso, Niahm Algar, Post Malone, Rob Delaney, Raul Castillo, Lyne Renee, Darrell D’Silva, and Deobia Oparei are alright. On the whole, ‘Wrath of Man’ is a captivating heavy-handed throwback action thriller that is consistently fun.
Directed – Guy Ritchie
Rated – R
Run Time – 119 minutes