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Wrath Of Man

Title: Wrath of Man

Describe This Movie Using One Simpsons Quote:

BART: He's like some sort of non-giving up, [truck]....guy
Brief Plot Synopsis: Still no honor among thieves. Bummer.

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: 3 burritos out of 5.

Tagline: n/a

Better Tagline: "Seriously, is a Spy sequel too much to ask?"

Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: Patrick Hill (Jason Statham, the new armored car guard for Portico Security, is a bit of a mystery, but when "H" — so nicknamed by his mentor "Bullet" (Holt McCallany) — effortlessly foils a daylight robbery, he wins the trust of his employers. It may (but probably won't) surprise you to learn H has his own agenda, one at odds with a consortium of thieves with their eyes on Portico.

Not So Brief Plot Synopsis:
 Has anyone ever ranked jobs found in the movies by their desirability? For example, on the high end you'd have things like: member of Danny Ocean's crew, concierge at the Continental, or Ghostbuster. On the other: anyone on the verge of retirement, Liam Neeson's family member, or armored car driver.

Because there aren't any glamorous armored car driver roles in cinema. If you're lucky, you're merely hogtied and left on the curb. More often than not, you end up dead (by mistake, if you're really unlucky), and if one of the main characters is himself an armored car driver, he's more than likely planning on robbing the truck from the inside.

Which brings us to Wrath of Man, Guy Ritchie's latest since The Gentlemen (and a remake of the 2004 French film, Le Convoyeur). It's a definite improvement over that meanderingly racist effort, which we can chalk up to a couple factors.

The first is the return of Jason Statham. Speaking frankly, no one will ever accuse this guy of being a master thespian. However, he was a significant factor in Ritchie's early success, and the Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels director may have missed his good luck charm.

Wrath of Man also feels much different than the director's oeuvre. It's set in Los Angeles instead of London, for starters, and plays things straighter (almost to the point of being dour) than the usual geezers and wankers fare. The movie clearly wants to be a spiritual successor to Heat, but is really more in line with something like Den of Thieves: sacrificing elegance for brutality.

Coherence also takes a hit, unfortunately. It's clear from the get-go that "H" is not what he seems, but we have to endure several timeline jumps and perspective shifts to establish this (and sex up the fairly rote storyline). Mostly it just pads the runtime.

But this is an agreeably stacked cast: McCallany never disappoints, and Jeffrey Donovan is convincing as an affable family man who really isn't. There's even Andy Garcia as an FBI agent whose presence is never fully explained, and Josh Hartnett continues (following Exterminate All the Brutes) his streak of unlikeable assholes. A throwaway appearance by Post Malone is just the cherry on top, especially when H grimly tells him to suck his own dick before blowing his head off.

It's a scene almost worth the price of admission itself.

Wrath of Man finds Guy Ritchie eschewing a lot of his usual shtick, and it mostly works. It's formulaic, sure, but brutal and dark-humored enough to distract from the obvious plot machinery.

Wrath of Man is in theaters today.
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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar