dantesring’s review published on Letterboxd:
A true fire and brimstone movie, WRATH OF MAN marks a departure for Guy Ritchie. While it fits in with his other urban gangster films, this lacks the humor and whimsy of his other films going for grit and nihilism to the extreme.
The set up is pretty simple. A crime lord witnesses the death of his son by criminals robbing an armored truck. He goes undercover with the truck company in hopes to ferret out who is responsible and deliver his revenge. It is filled with time jumps and reveals, but at its heart it is pretty simple.
What is different is unlike his other antiheroes, H, played by Stathem, is a man without a soul. He is a shark swimming in a lake hunting for his prey with dead eyes. It is implied that he loved his son but he doesn't seem driven by remorse, just vengeance because that is the code he lives by. Since we are following a monster it is like we are viewing hell.
Stathem is a perfect choice for this as he can play this kind of role better than anyone else. His career is fascinating, though he seems more comfortable in this mode his career is built off leaps into the fantastic. It is nice to see that he can poke fun at his own image, but this feels like what he was built for.
As for Ritchie, it is nice to see him ditch the playfulness and go full on into the ugly. The flourishes of his previous films would have detracted from this world and his clinical style here only amps up the tightening violence and cold endpoint.
WRATH OF MAN is not a fun movie, but it satisfies. Sometimes seeing how ugly the world can be makes you appreciate the good things in life.