“Vengeance is a monster of appetite, forever bloodthirsty and never filled.” – Richelle E. Goodrich
While not expecting much from Wrath of Man, I certainly expected better than what I was left with. Sometimes I think a person can get a bit too comfortable with their own fecal fumes, often confusing it for a pleasant aroma when in reality it’s an affront to anyone misfortunate enough to find themselves within its gassy grasp. I’m not saying this is what’s happened to Guy Ritchie as of late but with his last few efforts but something is definitely off. With the exception of The Gentlemen, his recent films have been lacking greatly. I know what he’s capable of and he’s better than this. If phoned in came in the form of a movie it would be titled Wrath of Man starring Jason Statham.
This entire film feels as if he tried to revive the eclectic, bizarre character driven actioners he’s famous for but gave up halfway through. I haven’t been this distracted by a script’s incoherent storytelling in a long time. Instead of appreciating what little action there is, and I’ll get into that, I was off somewhere in my own head wondering who is who, why they’re doing whatever it is they’re doing. At one point I was even wondering if this was actually a vehicle for Statham or not, telling a story from a point of view that quite frankly never felt needed. Perhaps with more of an attempt at humanizing the villains I might have cared about why they wanted to rob armored trucks but I never found an inkling of caring for them, much less a desire to even consider wanting to find out about their backstory. I would have been perfectly fine with the entirety of the story focused on Statham’s character bloodthirsty journey of murder and mayhem, of which there was not nearly enough of, especially with a title like Wrath of Man.
The very opening title sequence hints at his vengeance being that of something only found in the bible, a truly and wholly biblical event not seen since the days of Christ himself. By the end I was left kind of underwhelmed, all storytelling confusion aside. When it gets violent it’s quite detailed and graphic but ultimately mediocre. I shouldn’t watch an action scene and immediately think, “I’ve seen better.’ This was supposed to be its saving grace should all else about it fall short. But like everything else, the action and violence along with it sank with the rest of the ship. But this is the least of its problems.
Its greatest disaster is the structure of the film. Had it been a building it would have collapsed killing all occupants inside. It would be a tragedy. Luckily it’s just a forgettable action flick so yay, I guess. It attempts to tell a story from different viewpoints all revolving around a single incident; what led to it, why it happened and what comes of it after it’s over. It flashes back to a certain time from the perspective of a specific character and then jumps forward from that person’s timeline. From there it jumps back again and then forward yet again leaving your head spinning trying to keep up and asking yourself if you even care to keep up. I began to check out early on.
Guy Ritchie attempts to stand out and instead creates something he’s not going to mention in the trailer for his next movie when it says ‘From the director of…’ he’s definitely not listing this one.
The villains… um, yeah. If intimidating was a person or group of persons these guys wouldn’t be it. With special attention given to Scott Eastwood as the main outlaw committing the worst acts against Statham’s character, he could not have been a worse choice as the wildcard. Charlie Day is a better wildcard, by a mile. I wouldn’t call Eastwood or his villainous cohorts awful but rather just insignificant and forced. Statham needed a foe, here ya go Sir.
I have little respect for a film when the bar it must clear is so low and still can’t manage to rise above it. Not to mention everyone involved in this project is a serious talent with so much to give and nowhere to put it. From director to star, Wrath of Man is an example that even the best still get tripped up from time to time.
Wrath of Man left me bored, confused and wanting the previous two hours of my life back. If you were to ask me to give you examples of what worked, I’m sure with some time I might be able to think of something but off the top of my head, with the exception of some cool camera work here and there, nothing comes to mind to speak of. I just wanted a cool, grown up, violent Jason Statham action flick and it falls short of something that is at this point downright formulaic.
Rated R For: strong violence throughout, pervasive language, and some sexual references
Runtime: 118 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Action, Thriller
Starring: Jason Statham, Holt McCallany, Josh Hartnett, Scott Eastwood
Directed By: Guy Ritchie
Out of 10 Nerdskulls
Story: 4/ Acting: 5/ Directing: 7.5/ Visuals: 6
OVERALL: 5 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: No
Check out the trailer below:
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