Wrath of Man

Wrath of Man ★★★

“You just worry about putting your asshole back in your asshole and leave this to me.”
     To be honest, Statham popping a cap in Post Malone’s ass as he runs away is worth a star by itself. I’ll give Wrath of Man major kudos for being the first Guy Ritchie OR Jason Statham film I’ve actually enjoyed since Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels. Gone is the jumpy, busy, lighthearted, buzzed-bloke-in-a-pub-telling-you-a-tale vibe of film while making weird jokes like Snatch, RocknRolla, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., King Arthur, etc.
    In its place is pitch-black darkness, so sinister and nihilistic that you may wonder if its main character is the devil himself. Statham eschews the wisecracking caricature he has become in recent years for a sense of pure, unmitigated, singleminded hostility. His “H” would be right at home as a T-9000 in a Terminator film. Holt McCallany is excellent as the equally unpredictable yet much more animated Bullet, and I can’t tell you how happy it makes me whenever I see Josh Hartnett pop up in a studio feature.
    The film loses its way quite a bit when we assume the perspective of the villains (or bigger villains anyway), as they are portrayed too cartoonishly and on-the-nose as the “desperate vets with a bone to pick” to take seriously. Scott Eastwood particularly comes off rather goofy instead of menacing. The nonlinear structure involving flashbacks and flashforwards is also unnecessary, more tacky and superfluous than a purposeful storytelling choice.
    But overall, Wrath of Man is a visceral and eminently watchable revenge heist flick with a socially Nietzchian bent that would feel right at home in Michael Mann’s filmography. Though many love Snatch, UNCLE, and The Gentleman, I personally see this as a return to form for Ritchie and hope he continues leaving his usual penchants in the dust.

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