Reel Reviews | Wrath of Man

by Tim Gordon

A cold and mysterious man gets a job at a cash truck company, but unbeknownst to his colleagues, he has a darker agenda on his mind in the action thriller, Wrath of Man.

Based on the 2004 French film, Cash Truck, this film marks the fourth collaboration between director Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham. Holt McCallany, Jeffrey Donovan, Josh Hartnett, Laz Alonso, Raúl Castillo, Eddie Marsan, and Scott Eastwood also star.

After an intense opening, featuring a cash truck robbery with a stationery single camera capturing the harrowing action, this film, told in multiple chapters finds Patrick “H” Hill (Statham) during an interview for a truck driver position at Fortico Security. The high-risk occupation, which one character describes their level of risk as they “are not the predator, but the prey,” moves millions of dollars around the city, daily and has its fair share of danger. As Hill, nicknamed “H” goes through the process of training, you can tell that he is downplaying his skills and doing just enough to get the job. He has a distant and quiet persona, and his suspicious co-workers, led by his new partner, Bullett (McCallany) eagerly try to feel him out, often without much success. Some co-workers resort to pushing his buttons, unaware “that he DOES bear a grudge,” and trust me, you don’t want to get on H’s bad side.

All of that changes when during a robbery attempt, Bullett is taken hostage by a group of hijackers and suddenly H unleashes his very special skills as he singlehandedly takes down the entire six-man crew, saving his partner and co-workers in the process. Suddenly, his legend grows among his co-workers at Fortico as slowly we learn that this seemingly ordinary man is hiding a deep, dark secret. Described as a “dark spirit,” his identity begins to come into focus after a second botched robbery begging the question, who is H? Where did he come from? And most importantly, what is he really up to? As each nugget is uncovered, much like a fascinating puzzle, we find out just how far someone will go when they have a score to settle.

The fourth collaboration between director Guy Ritchie and action star, Statham and their first since 2007’s Revolver. For Statham, this latest film is a welcome return to the gangster genre as well as the director that made him a star. Since making his screen debut in Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels back in 1998, Statham has gone on to become one of the most bankable action stars in the industry. A slew of massive roles in films such as The Transporter and Fast and the Furious have made him a major international star, but he has always done his best work in gritty underworld stories.

Ritchie has refashioned this action-thriller, with Statham who uncharacteristically manages successfully to give a minimalistic performance that on the surface feels like countless performances he’s given in the past but in this story, Statham makes it work. buoyed by the atmospheric cinematography by Alan Stewart (The Gentlemen) that gives the audience the impression that they are in this tale with H as we understand his motivation as well as those who have the misfortune of being on his bad side.

Ritchie, who enjoyed a career bounce back with the aforementioned crime drama, The Gentlemen, continues his success with this story which finds both the director and his star back in solid form with a talented supporting cast, including Marsan, Donovan, Harnett, and Eastwood. As identified for his crime dramas featuring unsavory British characters as Martin Scorcese is for his gallery of mobsters, Ritchie has worked across various genres but has found his greatest success with his crime dramas.

Ironically, this is the most successful refashioning of a crime drama since Scorcese’s American remake of Infernal Affairs, The Departed. While we can’t guarantee Ritchie a similar reception to Scorcese’s Best Picture Academy Award, it is refreshing to see both him and Statham in familiar territory taking down the dregs of the underworld – and we love every minute of their stories!

Grade: B