Movie review: Wrath Of Man
The title is weak sauce and the publicity suspiciously low-key, which naturally lowers one's expectations for Wrath Of Man.
But the overdue reunion of writer-director Guy Ritchie and action superstar Jason Statham - after the former gave the latter his big movie break in Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels (1998), followed by Snatch (2000) and Revolver (2005) - may just blow all your reservations away.
There are many pleasant surprises in their latest collaboration, a solid, intense heist/ revenge action thriller that is thematically darker and more dramatic and far less blackly comic.
After a deadly ambush on one of its armoured cash trucks, Los Angeles-based Fortico Securities hires a new strong-and-silent employee H (Statham), whose physical test scores are seemingly average.
But we do not go to a Jason Statham movie to see him play an ordinary Joe flying under the radar.
No, we pay to watch the Hollywood tough guy serve revenge freezing cold.
Or in this case, go into scorched earth territory on anyone who crosses him, whether it is shady friends or foes played by Holt McCallany, Jeffrey Donovan, Josh Hartnett, Scott Eastwood and even singer-rapper Post Malone.
It is Statham at his most menacing and also most pained, with no deadpan one-liners in sight.
H's formidable weaponry and combat skills, as well as his end game, are slowly and satisfactorily revealed.
The time-shifting narrative of Wrath Of Man unfolds in a rather epic way over four distinct chapters, as we are given several perspectives of the central crime, after which all the players come to a violent collision course under a hail of bullets.
But what is most refreshing is the absence of Richie's trademark stylistic flourishes, anarchic pacing and fast-talking banter, which, after the exhausting The Gentlemen (2019), fatigued viewers may be grateful for.
In fact, Ritchie and Statham are already working on their next project together, the spy film Five Eyes.
Let us hope the winning formula and partnership continue to stick.
MOVIE: Wrath Of Man
STARRING: Jason Statham, Scott Eastwood, Josh Hartnett
WRITER-DIRECTOR: Guy Ritchie
THE SKINNY: A mysterious new security guard (Statham) for a cash truck surprises his co-workers when he unleashes his skills during a heist. Soon, his ultimate motive becomes clear as he takes dramatic and irrevocable steps to settle a score.