Wrath of Man looks so damn cool in the film trailer. We were offered a dance of sorts, the locking and loading of long guns, the staccato of perfectly timed pistols shots set to pounding, charging music, and a haunting remix of Folsom Prison Blues. Jason Statham, all steel and stone, powerfully facing off against his foes. Dealing out precision shots with instant, deadly results. Except a trailer isn’t a film, and often it betrays the film’s fundamental quality in favor of a quick-cut music video of sorts. That is the situation with Wrath of Man. Exciting trailer, schlock film.
Statham plays two distinct roles, but we barely notice since he hardly speaks any dialog throughout the film. He comes across as entertaining and reminds us why we like him as a comedic actor and an action star. However, his appeal is short-lived with such little dialog. The film is all about his deep pain and grievance, followed by his wrathful retaliation, but the character never shows any genuine sadness, only furious anger.
I like Guy Ritchie films, even the bad ones, like this one. I tolerate the shortcomings because I like his visual filmmaking style and characters. At one point at the start, there was a thought that this is shaping up to be a Tarrantino inspired movie…and then quickly not, nope, not a chance.
The plot is very, very thin. Injury and pain are almost totally disregarded. The scheming and heist planning is outright silly and only exists for the movie to unfold cleanly. It feels like they filmed the treatment instead of the script. Five pages, boom, we’re done.
Despite the dreadful story on screen, the supporting characters are fantastic. Every other character besides the lead is at least interesting, and in some cases, you want to know more about them. Ritchie inadvertently gives us a fully rounded cast with plenty of dialog from them, and actual emotions to consider. Niamh Algar, Josh Hartnet, Jeffrey Donovan, Darrell D’Silva, and Babs Olusanmokun all deliver excellent supporting roles. In the case of Statham’s henchmen, you want to know more about what the hell they are all about, for sure.
So, bottom line, if you like Guy Ritchie films or Jason Statham action films, go for it and don’t look back on the two hours you’re investing. Otherwise, it’s a miss, so maybe just watch the trailer a few times more.