Director Guy Ritchie
Screenplay Guy Ritchie, Ivan Atkinson, Marn Davies based on the movie Cash Truck by Nicolas Boukhrief
Starring Jason Statham, Holt McCallany, Jeffrey Donovan, Josh Hartnett, Laz Alonso, Raúl Castillo, DeObia Oparei, Eddie Marsan, Scott Eastwood, Andy García

Wrath of Man is the kind of film that doesn’t trust its audience enough to just let the story unfold. If one hasn’t figured out what is going on by the middle of the first act, don’t worry, it will be spoon fed by the beginning of act two. And they just keep on feeding you the same vittles throughout the rest of its 119 minute playing time.

One doesn’t simply go into a Jason Statham film for the complexity of the plot, but one does have reason to hope that working with his old friend Guy Ritchie might add a few colors to the palate. For some reason Ritchie needed the help of two other writers to translate this French story of robbing cash trucks. It writes itself in the first scene.

That scene, shown from the perspective of the passenger (shotgun) seat is purposely vague, but if we listen, we hear someone say something about shooting the kid. I wonder if that means anything.

Months later, we see Patrick Hill (Statham) joining the same transport company. He barely passes the shooting and driving tests, and is let on the team by the overly kind and enthusiastic Haiden “Bullet” Blaire (the normally great McCallany). By that time, he’s already been processed by Manager Terry Rossi (Marsan, a Ritchie stalwart). The viewer is right to think “Is that all we’re going to see of Eddie Marsan?”

Don’t worry, this is not the last extremely talented actor one will wonder about.

The first time the team of drivers is robbed, Hill stands out as incredibly lethal and a much better shot than he showed in his entrance exams. Is something up? My guess is we will know soon enough.

If a film is not going to allow the viewer to think their way through, then at least it should be nice visually. Ritchie is slightly above average here, but it’s a crime seeing how dumb his characters need to be to have the bad ones pull one over on them time and again. There are no astounding scenes here. There are a lot of bullets flying, but the only ones that count are Statham’s of course.

I don’t dislike Jason Statham as an actor, but I have never been particularly keen on his charisma. He is a bit like his Mechanic predecessor Charles Bronson in that way. Normally if he’s given a line, he doesn’t waste any emotions on it. This makes it tough to identify with him beyond the level of, say, a video game player. We want him to win, because he’s playing for us. He’s just not someone we would ever come close to knowing as a human being.

Unlike Bronson, Statham has skills beyond the action realm. The Bank Job, is proof of that concept. This is not beyond that realm. Enjoy it for what it is.

(** out of *****)

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