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The Wrath of Man

Peter W Sheehan  |  03 May 2021

WRATH OF MAN. Starring: Jason Statham, Holt McCallany, and Jeffrey Donovan. Also, Laz Alonso. Directed by Guy Ritchie. Rated MA15+. Restricted (Strong themes, violence and coarse language). 119 min.

This action thriller is based on the 2004 French film, Le Convoyeur (Cash Truck), by Nicholas Boukhrief. The film is an English language remake of the original 2004 French movie. 

In the remake, Patrick Hill (Statham) takes a job as a security guard, and is identified to his colleagues simply as H. He is employed by a truck company called Fortico Securities, which delivers cash collected from banks, casinos  and deptartment stores in the city of Los Angeles. To handle the requirements of his job, H learns the rules from a new partner, Bullet (McCallany). 

H’s employment company is high risk. The vehicles that cart the cash around are subjected frequently to attempted hold-ups by criminals in Los Angeles’s underworld, and its trucks have often been ambushed in the past. Fortico Securities requires strong protection.

A major attack is planned by a crime syndicate, and H and Bullet are targets in the robbery of a huge cash load. H has been especially hired to protect Fortico Securities from criminal heists, and he has amply demonstrated that he is an expert marksman who works with precision, speed, and accuracy, never misses his target, and always shoots to kill. His ruthless character is reinforced by the fact he is an undercover crime boss, out for revenge. For the lucrative heist that is planned, a group of ex-military men is led by Jackson (Donovan), and the group has been assembled and groomed for combative, military-type action.

So expert is H, that those he works with query who he actually is, and what he did before he joined Fortico Securities – “if he is not a cop, what is he?”, they say. However, H is using his position as a security guard to try to locate the person who was responsible in the past for killing his son, and he has excellent knowledge of the criminal underworld where aggression and violence are the name of the game. On the heist that is being planned, multi-millions of dollars are at stake, and Jackson and his team swing into action, with violent results.

Director, Guy Ritchie, is well known for directing British gangster films and he and Statham have worked closely together in four movies; this movie occurs after a long 15-year separation. It was Ritchie who made Statham a star, and this is a revenge movie, firmly embedded within the gangster genre. In it, Guy Ritchie pulls the stops out for the display of aggression, and Ritchie directs H full force in high octane scenarios, that have made both their reputations in the past.

This is a movie which assumes that viewers are buying their tickets to enjoy the display of violence. Such is morally problematic, but within the chosen genre the movie is well photographed, its pace is frenetic, and the film holds its tension. Viewers facing a MA15+ gangster movie like this one, will know precisely what lies ahead. Both plot and character resolution are regarded as not nearly as important as the acts of aggression that accompany them. This film tries its utmost to show violence whenever it can, and nothing is said to convincingly justify the motive of revenge that energises H.  

The violence displayed is obvious, but the movie’s classification rating formally indicates that the aggression is not being judged as gratuitous. However, that is a matter for some debate. The violence shown tenuously fits the movie’s plot-line, and its nature is never in doubt. The filmed aggression is strong, frequent, savagely ruthless, dehumanising, and reliably ghoulish.  

StudioCanal Pty Ltd
Released 29 April 2021

Peter W Sheehan is an Associate of Jesuit Media

 

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