It was just months ago that I was excited for the first Friday of May because it was going to be the day that Black Widow was finally going to be released. The reason I used past tense in that last sentence is because, like a lot of films this past year, it was once again delayed and I had to see another film instead. Ugh. So, instead of watching a Marvel film that I was anticipating, I went and saw the latest Guy Richie film, Wrath of Man.
I have very mixed feelings on Guy Richie as a director these days. There are films that I have enjoyed and been surprised by, such as Sherlock Holmes (2009). However, there are some such as King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword (2017) that left me completely bored. Lately, though, Guy Richie has made some films that I liked such as Aladdin (2019) and The Gentlemen (2019). They’re not great by any means, but they are entertaining and engaging films that serve their purpose. Did Wrath of Man do just that? Let’s find out.
Set in Los Angeles, Wrath of Man follows Patrick “H” Hill (Jason Statham), a mysterious man who gets a job at an armored truck company moving money from different businesses. One day on the job his partner Bullet (Holt McCallany) is taken hostage during a drop, and the kidnappers demand the money from the truck. Instead giving them the money, H guns down all kidnappers with no harm done to Bullet or himself. His workplace praises him for his actions, though some are concerned that he isn’t phased by what he did. Instead, he continues his job the next day as if nothing happened. Time passes and his truck is attacked again, but once the thieves recognize H’s face, they immediately retreat, which confuses H’s superiors when they give their report. From there we learn that H is not an average man, but one with an agenda to get revenge on a group of people who not only hurt a loved one of his, but are the ones that he maybe working with all this time.
Despite the short description of the plot, Wrath of Man is a bit more complex than it initially shows. Unfortunately, however, the dull tone, unlikable characters, and weird pacing made it not great even though I was optimistic in the beginning. I can’t really say I was disappointed with the film because as I said it was exactly how I thought it was going to be tone wise, but let’s just say I expected better given that Guy Richie has been surprising me lately.
Before I get into my main criticisms, I want to discuss what I liked about Wrath of Man. For one, it had a promising opening that had potential and kept me interested. This was mainly due to the character of H, who was a mysterious man, which I liked. This mysterious persona is something I thought would keep me focused throughout the film, and to a certain degree it did. While I don’t agree with some of his methods throughout the film, I did like that he wasn’t doing it for his selfish reasons or greed, which would’ve been easy for him because of his occupation. Instead, his focus is mainly on getting revenge for someone who he cared about in his life. Again, I don’t agree with his methods but it was nice seeing a motivation driven by love.
Now that I’ve been kind to Wrath of Man, let me get into the real reason why you’re here, which is for me to criticize this film. After the promising start, it slowly goes in a different direction as it presents itself in a non-linear, non-cohesive manner that didn’t quite work the way director intended it to be. This was a problem in Guy Richie’s last film, The Gentleman, only here the problem is much worse because of the dull tone that it had throughout. At least in The Gentleman, the film was a bit more active, with a comedic turn as well. Wrath of Man here takes itself seriously, which is needed due to the subject matter but it could have been livelier, which would have helped my boredom. What also doesn’t help is the ensemble in the film that H encounters. Most of them felt flat and uncharismatic, and I didn’t care what happened to them in the end. I was hoping to get some engaging moments with them, but I was so uninterested and bored that I started to drift off to where I fell asleep for a little bit.
What didn’t help my viewing experience, however, is that I saw this film a day after I got my second COVID-19 vaccine shot, and I was already feeling the side effects. I thought I was good because I had re-watched Thor (2011) that morning with no problem and drank some caffeine before I saw Wrath of Man. Even with that boost of caffeine it still didn’t help with my viewing of the movie, and I feel like I would’ve felt the same way even I was not feeling a little run down. It was also very clear that the film was the way it was because after I got out of it, I immediately went to Saturday evening mass and had no problem staying awake. I might re-watch Wrath of Man some time again this year to get a second opinion where I’m completely awake, but I’m not sure how different that opinion will be.
Overall, Wrath of Man isn’t the worse Guy Richie film that I have seen, but it certainly doesn’t stand out as his best, which is not saying a lot due to his odd filmography. As I said earlier, I might watch it again to get a second opinion however with a lot more films coming out due to more theaters opening back up, I doubt I’ll be re-watching it in a theater any time soon. Heck, I’m probably going to forget this film by the time summer ends.