Wrath of Man

Wrath of Man ★★★½

The last year really made me change my opinion on Guy Ritchie, he went from one of my least favorite directors to one of my favorites. I was excited that we were getting another release so soon after The Gentleman, and at the end of the day, Wrath of Man is pretty solid. 

It’s a pretty basic story, in a lot of ways it feels like John Wick with extra steps, but there’s enough of the Ritchie/Statham charm to make this work. 

I really enjoyed the sound design and the score, they were both pleasant surprises, and the action sequences are well executed. I also like that this movie’s not afraid to get dark, there’s multiple scenes where you think the body count is going to be a lot lower than it ends up being, and I sort of appreciate that the film didn’t give anyone plot armor. 

The cast is solid, but Jason Statham is why we’re here and he delivers whenever he’s given an opportunity to. I also really enjoyed Scott Eastwood, which is the first time I’ve ever said that, but here he actually plays an interesting villain instead of his usual pretty boy leading man fodder. 

The movie made three mistakes that kept me from
enjoying it as much as Ritchie’s other work. 

The first is the tone. This movie is brutal, dark, and serious from beginning to end. The few moments of levity feel out of place due to how dark the rest of the film is. All that is fine, and this is just my opinion, but I love the humor in Guy Ritchie films and that was sorely lacking here. I don’t mind a film being dark, but I can’t say I didn’t have more fun with Ritchie’s other stuff. 

The second mistake is setting this in LA. Idk if it’s because I live here and I’m jaded af, but I feel like LA has no character. Unless you’re doing a La La Land/LA Confidential style film that utilizes LA as a character, we’re just a bunch of highways and traffic. I really missed London and England throughout all of this, and though I think it’s cool for Ritchie to branch out, this movie doesn’t replace the English slang and vibe of his other films with anything, so it feels like a hole. 

The last mistake the movie made is retelling the first act three times. I’ve never been a fan of the Vantage Point let’s go back to the start plot device, it works very rarely, and I don’t think it works here. Whenever the film finally starts to get some momentum going, it halts and we start from scratch. Ritchie loves to play around with non-linear storytelling and it usually works for me, but I didn’t love it here, especially the third pov that we get. 

Wrath of Man is a solid crime thriller, it’s not gonna blow you away, but it’s also worth a watch. Unfortunately the tone, the narrative device, and the setting keep this from reach the heights of Snatch, Lock Stock, or even The Gentleman and Rock N’ Rolla.