It has been more than a year since I stepped into a movie theater. And that movie (SEBERG) left a really bad taste in my mouth. You see an average movie and you figure, “eh I’ll just go see a better one next week”. But there was no next week. Weeks turned into months and into more than a year. Now that I’m fully vaccinated, I figured it was time to take the plunge.
But what to see? An indie movie? Wait for a potential blockbuster like IN THE HEIGHTS, FAST 9, BLACK WIDOW, even CRUELLA might qualify. I decided I didn’t want to wait. Pick up the phone, open the AMC app and see what’s out there. WRATH OF MAN looked promising. Guy Ritchie co-wrote and directed. I like Ritchie. LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS and SNATCH are fun crime movies. The first SHERLOCK HOLMES wasn’t bad. THE MAN FROM UNCLE didn’t get a lot of love, but I liked it. So Ritchie, awesome! Jason Statham glowering for two hours. Statham is a great action star. Ok, that seemed like the perfect re-entry point. I made the right choice.
WRATH OF MAN is not a perfect movie. But it may have been the perfect “return to a theater” movie. Statham glowers more than usual. He’s said it may be his darkest role and it’s hard to argue, but it’s dark with a purpose. One of loglines I read says it is a look inside Los Angeles’ cash truck culture. I didn’t realize there was one, but sure why not. Apparently, part of that culture is well planned robberies carried out by highly trained crews. Again sure, why not. Statham goes to work for one of these armored car companies without much explanation of why. At least not initially.
And I would love to tell you the reason why Statham’s character “H” takes the job, something for which he seems galactically over-qualified. But here’s where telling you would spoil the whole movie. What starts as confusion is explained in a series of flashbacks involving Statham and a crew of robbers lead by Jeffrey Donovan and includes the requisite wildcard, Scott Eastwood. The crew is made up of army veterans who miss the “action”. Yeah, yeah, it’s kind of a tired premise and here it’s offered without any backstory other than we are led to believe they served together in the “shit” (even the cliches are tired).
WRATH OF MAN has some very good set pieces involving robberies and gun battles, including the climatic robbery. Statham is a solid, reliable action movie star and he carries a lot in this movie. Eastwood goes rogue and It’s pretty good. Holt McCallany plays “Bullet”, another guard who shows H the ropes. McCallany has made a career of playing heavies. Here he stretches a bit and it’s worth it. I have loved Donovan since BURN NOTICE. I wish he was cast in more movies and was given more to do in the ones he appears in. He has a knowing vibe that I really love. We see a little of it here, but I want more.
Is WRATH OF MAN good? I’d say it’s good enough. It moves. I never got bored and after staying away from theaters for more than a year, it was a great way to re-enter the world of entertainment.