Wrath of Man

★★★★

Some fun factoids about Guy Ritchie’s “Wrath of Man” (now playing in theaters everywhere): 1.) Jason Statham tells Post Malone to suck his own dick in the movie. 2.) Mark Arnold, the dude who played Mick the basketball player bully in 1985’s “Teen Wolf,” plays a cat named Super (could’ve sworn it was ‘Soup’ while watching the movie however). 3.) Josh Hartnett, making his triumphant return to the big screen, can’t be outdone in the name department and thus his character rocks the moniker Boy Sweat Dave (a great Guy Ritchie character name if there ever was one). 4.) There are more headshots in this movie than there are in a busy talent agency’s office.

Statham stars as H (“as in bomb”), a newly hired security guard at Los Angeles-based cash truck company Fortico. On his first day H thwarts an attempted truck robbery saving his co-workers and the $2.5 million contained therein by efficiently dispatching the six would-be thieves.

This comes as a surprise to the folks at Fortico as H’s test scores coming into the gig weren’t exactly glowing. H was initially partnered with Boy Sweat, but the two promptly butted heads and BS is now full-on freaked out by H’s lethality. H is reassigned to Bullet (Holt McCallany), a more ingratiating guard who conducted H’s pre-employment testing and showed him the ropes.

Fortico’s depot is further filled out by its manager Terry (Eddie Marsan), his boss Boss Blake Halls (Rob Delaney), “lady driver” Dana (Niamh Algar) and John (Alex Ferns), who has an axe to grind as H filled his old position when he was demoted to a desk.

Not all thieves are as ineffective as the ones H vanquished. A crew comprised of ex-military hit a Fortico truck a few months back – they made off with all the cash and executed two guards and an innocent bystander named Dougie (Eli Brown) in the process. They are Jackson (Jeffrey Donovan), Jan (Scott Eastwood), Brad (Deobia Oparei), Carlos (Laz Alonso, late of Amazon Prime’s “The Boys”), Sam (Raúl Castillo) and Tom (Chris Reilly). They also have an inside man or woman at Fortico who’s aiding them in pulling off jobs. It’ll be up to H to dig up the rat and take the lot of ‘em out.

Statham could do this steely tough guy shtick in his sleep, but he’s still entertaining. McCallany, an actor I’ve admired since his ill-fated 2011 FX series “Lights Out,” has some fun and interesting notes to play and he does the most with them. The surprise standout of the bunch is Eastwood. I found Clint’s kid pretty milquetoast in stuff like “The Fate of the Furious.” He seems to have turned a corner playing real-life badass SSG Clint Romesha in Rod Lurie’s “The Outpost” from last year. He may look a bit like his Pop’s “the Good,” but he plays Jan more like Lee Van Cleef’s “the Bad.” This kid may have a future in playing heels as he’s a hoot and a half here.  

“WoM” – a remake of Nicolas Boukhrief’s 2004 French film “Le Convoyeur” AKA “Cash Truck” – is the most serious movie Ritchie’s made since 2005’s “Revolver” (the last Ritchie-Statham collaboration prior to this one), but it lacks much of that picture’s pretentiousness. “WoM” as penned by Ritchie and his “The Gentlemen” co-scribes Marn Davies and Ivan Atkinson has its fair share of dark, mordant humor, but it’s certainly lacking in the laughs department by comparison to much of Ritchie’s other output. Ritchie screws around with chronology as he often does to keep his audience on their toes, but doesn’t employ as many stylistic flourishes as he normally would. In spite of this it’s still a sharp-looking flick with a curious camera as lensed by Ritchie’s recent cinematographer Alan Stewart, who also shot “Aladdin” (2019) and “The Gentleman.”

“WoM” has less in common with “Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” or “Snatch” and is more akin something like Michael Mann’s “Heat” or the rash of “Heat” imitators, i.e. “The Dark Knight,” “Den of Thieves.” The concluding heist and ensuing shootout at the depot are more than worth the price of admission and should be enjoyed in an auditorium with the biggest screen and loudest sound possible. (I saw “WoM” in IMAX.) Just don’t go in expecting a fun Ritchie romp – this one’s brooding and brutal. It’s a revenge picture at heart – one that’s a good deal better than last week’s “Without Remorse.”

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