Wrath of Man by Guy Ritchie [5/10]

A Guy Ritchie film represents a juicy treat of violent froth and after the triumph of The Gentlemen, I made sure to go see “Wrath of Man” on the day of its Melbourne opening. Such a splendid title, I thought. Jason Statham brings his stolid physicality to a role as H, a new recruit to a depot of armored cars that tote millions and train newbies to survive. Soon H demonstrates the Statham style of invincible physicality and we are treated to a series of nested flashbacks that allow the viewer to piece together what H is doing at the depot. All well and good, and vintage Ritchie. I enjoyed the pace, the semi-cartoonish raw bloodshed, and the presented plot puzzle. Notable was the brooding, hellscape musical soundtrack penned by Christopher Benstead, so notable that I left the cinema humming its six-note closing riff of menace. Alas, two pieces of the Ritchie style go missing in Wrath of Man. Firstly, the glorious panache we have come to expect shows only sporadic appearance; the dialogue is fluid enough but we miss the swagger of Ritchie’s best offerings. And second, a related issue is the lack of star turns. Over-the-top hammed-up set pieces by top actors are needed to make this kind of movie work. Hot McCallaney tries hard as Bullet, H’s armored car sidekick, but the other supports are unconvincing, and Statham’s lack of flair is a handicap when, as is mostly the case, the script offers him little to go with. Overall, Wrath of Man is an enjoyable diversion but nothing more.

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