As vaccinations lift COVID restrictions, it stands to reason we’ll see a lot more people at the movies, though during the night showing of Guy Ritchie’s “Wrath of Man” that my girlfriend and I caught the other night, we were pleasantly surprised to find we were the only patrons in the theater. Theaters have long been labeled as high risk for the unvaccinated, and I suspect that for many, that stigma will not wear off for a while, and part of that has to do with theaters’ insistence on selling concessions.
Unlike “Chaos Walking”, the last film we saw in theaters “Wrath of Man” was a great watch, featuring an interesting story full of twists that focuses on Patrick “H” Hill/Heargraves (Jason Statham) a new employee at an armored truck company named Fortico Security, who has a shady past, and very good action sequences. “Wrath of Man” take itself seriously, and its action and violence, while brutal and savage at times, never feels gratuitous, because the action and violence are not the point of the film; they are just tools for Ritchie to tell his story about a brutal antihero bent on taking revenge on a man who killed his son.
The film grounds itself through Fortico, whose facilities we get very familiar with. Essentially, they transport money all around the film’s fictional city, and they get paid well doing it, but there is a lot of danger to the job. Five months before H is hired, a truck was robbed by people posing as construction workers, killing the Fortico employees as well as a civilian, who we later learn is H’s son, Dougie (Eli Brown). He isn’t completely innocent — I won’t get into it too much because of spoilers — but needless to say, he also has some shady business going on that in a way, contributed to his son’s death.
All of this info is told to us slowly in segmented sections similar to what Zack Snyder tried to pull off in his director’s cut of “Justice League”, which does make the film seem a little uneven, but I think it works.
Fortico itself is full of interesting characters H works alongside, including: Bullet (Holt McCallany) a veteran employee of the company, who takes H under his wing and helps him get settled; Hollow Bob (Rocci Williams), who was supposed to be the driver the day H’s son was killed, but claims he was with his mom; Boy Sweat Dave (Josh Hartnett), a nervous coworker who doesn’t do well under pressure; Dana (Niamh Algar), a brief love interest of H’s; and the company’s bumbling owner, Boss Blake Halls (Rob Delaney). There are many other characters, particularly among H’s gang and the group that is responsible for the death of his son, but I can’t really go into much further detail without spoiling the film.
As a whole, “Wrath of Man” comes off as a clever, brutal action thriller well worth going to the theater to see if it is safe for you to do so. It’s by no means a perfect film, and it falls well short of the likes of similar action films, such as any entry in the “John Wick” series, but it’s the best film I’ve seen in theaters this year.
“Wrath of Man” gets an 8/10