Wrath of Man

Wrath of Man ★★★½

Muscular and visceral, the lads are back together for another crime joint but who knew another Guy Richie/Jason Stathem collaboration would yield such BITTER results. 

Richie is definitely wading in darker waters, writing Stathem’s revenge-fueled avenger as a psychopathic brute with tunnel vision. He couldn’t care less about people caught in his cross-fire, innocent or otherwise and he portrays the character with a turgid and mechanical intensity. The dialogue is as quippy  as ever, but you won’t find very many nuggets of true-blue humor or a mischievous tone of dark delights, and you can forget about idiosyncratic montages and a twist heavy plot (unless you consider MORE CONTEXT to be exciting revelations).

Wrath of Man is the least Guy Richie movie he’s made in a LONG time (Aladdin doesn’t count because that was clearly a paycheck picture) which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

His thematic ambitions are aimed higher than they usually are (he doesn’t go full Revolver though thank God), wanting to craft not JUST a revenge thriller but an operatic crime film uniting dozens of characters and sub-plots with a man on a righteous biblical crusade at the center of these shenanigans. The gangland and shoot ‘em up violence is illustrated with queasy, almost exploitation-tier realism. THIS IS A VERY SERIOUS MOVIE, Richie shouts at the top of his lungs as the bodies continuously pile up with a coarse abandonment for human life. There are even chapter title cards! The self-importance is NOXIOUS, fortunately the craft is confident and the acting alone keeps the story stable.

Is it successful at what it’s trying to do? I’d say so, yeah. Scott Eastwood’s mediocre Willem Dafoe impression couldn’t even manage to topple this Jenga stack so that’s gotta count for something. Guy Richie is firmly in “meat-and-potatoes” form here, and he shoots the best action of his career saddling on a particular doozy of a climactic shootout. The pieces never create a whole picture that’s anything more than conventionally satisfying, but it IS just that and sometimes that’s enough.

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