Wrath of Man is a 2021 action thriller film directed by Guy Ritchie, who teams with Jason Statham again after 16 years and the fourth collaboration between the two, with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and Revolver before it. Jason Statham stars as Patrick Hill or “H”, who starts working for an armored truck company called Fortico Security.
After being commended by the superior Terry for his references, he is introduced to Bullet (Holt McCallany), who nicknames him “H” and oversees his training. H gets off to a rocky start with his colleagues, particularly Boy Sweat Dave (Josh Hartnett, making his return), over his mysterious nature.
One day, Bullet is taken hostage during a drop and the kidnappers demand the $2 million in their truck. When H and Dave meet the kidnappers, H easily dispatches them with expert marksmanship, making him a hero among his co-workers. During a later attack on H’s truck, he steps out when the truck is flooded with tear gas, at which point the robbers retreat on seeing him, afraid for their lives. This raises Bullet and Dave’s suspicions about H. H later sleeps with co-worker Dana Curtis and holds her at gunpoint to interrogate her about a private cash stash he finds. She claims she stole money once from a liquor store for retirement savings, but insists it was the only time. H spares her life, but threatens further repercussions if he learns she is withholding further information. This short scene seems to have been only added to enhance Jason Statham’s macho sex appeal as it does nothing really for the story itself.
We are next taken through a flashback of five months earlier, where H is out with his son Dougie when he reluctantly agrees to a call asking him to help with the recon of an armored truck for a robbery. H stops on the other side of the bridge from the armored truck depot, and asks Dougie to wait in the car while he goes to a food truck by the depot. He calls to reveal the location of the truck as he gets food, but as the truck goes under the bridge, it is attacked by a different group of thieves dressed as construction workers, who kill the guards as well as Dougie for being a witness. When H runs toward them, he is gunned down as well, but survives.
H is then revealed to be Hargreaves, the boss of a crime syndicate who specialize in armored truck robberies; the syndicate’s members were the men who made the second attack on H’s truck. After Dougie’s mother holds H responsible for Dougie’s death and leaves, H demands to find the men responsible. After exhausting a list of suspects, and coming up with no possible leads, in which we see brutal killings and H’s cold-blooded pursuit of revenge, his associate suggests that the robbery was an inside job. H says he will fly back to London to clear his mind, but actually arranges a local contact, Kirsty, to provide him with the forged identity of Patrick Hill, as well as the autopsy report of Dougie’s death.
Next we are introduced to the thieves of the construction job who are a former military platoon, commanded by Jackson, along with a man named Jan who killed the guards and Dougie. Struggling to make ends meet, the group decides to start stealing money in increasingly ambitious heists planned in great detail by Jackson and Tom, while maintaining their normal lives with families, except for Jan, who shows off his wealth. They first attempt to steal from a wealthy man for whom their fellow ex-soldier Carlos works as security, but come up with only a few hundred thousand dollars. They then resolve to utilize contacts in armored truck companies to steal millions of dollars. When they are given the Fortico heist, Jan kills the guards and Dougie against the wishes of the rest of the team.
Some months later, Jackson and Tom bring the team together for a much larger but riskier final heist to steal over $150 million from the Fortico depot on Black Friday. H and Bullet are riding together when Bullet reveals he is the thieves’ insider, and asks H to cooperate to avoid death. The thieves, dressed in full body armor, hide in the truck to gain access into the depot and begin taking hostages, including Terry and Dave. One worker triggers the alarm and the workers behind the weapons desk begin shooting at the thieves, but are easily dispatched. H chokes Carlos and takes his body armor to fight back, inspiring Dave to do the same while Terry hides. Realizing they may not make it out, Bullet breaks his cover and kills Dave, Dana, and the remaining guards and shoots H.
Bullet, Jackson, and Jan are the only ones to make it out of the depot, though Jackson is critically wounded. They evade police and make it to a garage where they have access to underground tunnels. Believing Jan will try to kill them, Jackson takes out a pistol, but Jan stops him and slits his throat. When Jan and Bullet make it to the end of the tunnel, Bullet takes out a gun to try to kill Jan, but Jan kills him first. Jan successfully makes away with all the money before the police can deduce what happened. At Jan’s apartment, he finds a phone ringing in one of the money bags, which was planted there by H to track his location. H confronts Jan with Dougie’s autopsy before shooting him in the same places Dougie was shot, killing him. H turns in the money to his FBI contact (Andy Garcia in a totally useless role) and drives off with one of his associates.
Overall it’s a simple vengeance story and being a Jason Statham movie, it definitely delivers on its over-the-top macho aggression. But that being said it is definitely entertaining – the action especially the gun fight at the depot is extremely fun although one keeps wondering how it is so easy to get body armor and assault weapons so easily in the United States. Most of the characters play second fiddle to Statham as this is a movie which centers upon his “wrath”. The only female character who has a few lines, acts all confident until Jason Statham arrives only to become a smitten damsel who has to sleep with him, not too long into the movie. Josh Hartnett is back but he is no longer the actor from Black Hawk Down and Pearl Harbor. He plays a cool guy but he isn’t one in the movie. Basically the roles for the secondary characters are such, Guy Ritchie could have saved millions by just hiring newbies from acting school for the role as everything revolves around Statham as it is.
But hey, it’s my fault to try and analyze a Jason Statham movie as if it were a classic. I wouldn’t do that to a Vin Diesel or Dwayne Johnson movie and I am not gonna do it to Statham. Statham plays to his strengths – the macho vibe, being the guy with the quick witty lines and the ability to never die no matter how many bullets are fired at him. As an action star, Jason Statham is one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood and I can see why. He knows his genre and sticks to his strengths. He doesn’t fake accents or work in rom-coms. Even in comedies such as Spy, he played a hard man and it works. I would definitely recommend Wrath of Man but try not to watch with your girlfriend or wife, as that night she’d definitely be recreating some scene with Statham in her head.
Guy Ritchie though has fallen far since his amazing heist movies such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. Wrath of Man is far from his best but it isn’t bad either.
Watch the movie for its brilliant acting…..I am sorry, that was cruel. No watch this movie for its fun action sequences. That’s it, there is nothing else I could remember which makes this movie stand apart.