Wrath of Man

Wrath of Man ★★★★

Wrath of Man is a surprisingly effective B-movie thriller. It suffers from a number of issues associated with that kind of filmmaking, especially early on - some heavy-handed dialogue, predictable plot points, less-than-convinving acting at times - but as it moves briskly forward, those problems become less and less of an issue.

Jason Statham is superb here as... well, you know what you're going to get, but it's definitely one of his most quietly effective performances. Around some of the other actors who don't always pull their weight, Statham has an uncanny ability to play this kind of shallow, one-dimensional kind of tough guy, but always bring something extra to it, somehow by just being Jason Statham.

It's quite fitting that Guy Ritchie - the man who laid the foundations for Statham's career whilst never turning him into the action star he became - is the man to return Statham to some real form in the action thriller genre. Ritchie has had a mixed bag of films throughout his career, but finally he seems to have nestled into a genre that no longer relies on simply aping past glories for success.

It is a film that wears its influences on its sleeve. They're not even worth mentioning in the review because by approximately 30 seconds in, you'll be namechecking. But what I will say is that - true to it's B-movie nature - it strips away (almost) all of the pretention, and gives us more of the thrill that we seek, to the point where - okay, I'll give you one - the film seemed to have transcended those filmic influences, and began to remind me of Grand Theft Auto V.

It's also a well-made film. Ritchie has always been a talent even when I haven't liked a large chunk of his films, and again here, he throws in the usual Steadicam long single takes, Tarantino-esque cross-cutting between different times, and the snappy (when it's not crappy) dialogue that he became known for. I would never go as far as to say the film is subtle, but he does manage to weave these elements in just that bit more than usual, to avoid the dated playbacks to Lock, Stock or Snatch. That was my big issue with The Gentleman, recently - I just sat there wondering why I wasn't watching Snatch instead. And sure, there's a lot of movies that this film references that I could also be watching, but I never wanted to switch Wrath of Man off.

It's a film that gets better and better as it moves forward. There's a central plot that gets in the way a tad, but there has to be something that the action can hang off and for the 90% of the movie, as Stath goes from mystery quiet man, to dead-eyed badass, it's a hell of a ride.

When my dad gets round to watching this, he's almost certainly going to say: "The best film since The Rock."

Surely, that's a glowing assessment, right?

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