"Ultraviolent, Gritty Revenge Thriller"
What You Need To Know:
Writer/Director Guy Ritchie excels at directing crime fiction, from Sherlock Holmes movies to gritty gangster movies. WRATH OF MAN is well directed, but the story is broken up by two long flashbacks and has excessive gun violence that gets repetitious. In addition to all the gun violence, WRATH OF MAN has some bloody scenes of torture and nearly constant, mostly strong foul language. The lead character isn’t totally ruthless. He only really wants to kill the thief who shot his son to death. However, he won’t let anyone get in his way. So, WRATH OF MAN ultimately slips into MOVIEGUIDE®’s lowest acceptability rating.
WRATH OF MAN is an ultraviolent revenge thriller about a mysterious, tough, taciturn man who joins a private armored truck company to identify and get revenge against a gang of thieves who unexpectedly but ruthlessly killed his son during an armed robbery. WRATH OF MAN is well directed, but the story is broken up in the middle by flashbacks and contains a tremendous amount of repetitious gun violence, bloody scenes of torture and nearly constant foul language as well as the revenge motif.
The movie starts with the robbery of an armored truck owned by a private firm in Los Angeles. The truck had just pulled out of its parking lot when a construction crew puts up a stop sign, and a large truck blocks the road. The whole thing turns out to be an elaborate robbery. During the robbery, one of the masked thieves, dressed up as the road workers and the truck driver who blocked the road, kills the two guards for some unknown reason. He also apparently kills an eyewitness.
Cut to Patrick Hill, a tough, taciturn Englishman played by Jason Statham, getting a job as a guard with the private firm with a fleet of armored trucks for hire. He impresses the older guy who checks out potential recruits, even though Patrick barely passes the 70% target during the required target practice to get the job. The older man has a nickname, Bullet, and gives Patrick the nickname of H, as in H bomb and “Jesus H. Chr*st”, he jokes.
Patrick’s tough, laconic persona irks a few of the other guards. They make some jokes at his expense, but he makes some jokes back at them, which makes them even more angry. One of them, a driver named Boy Sweat Dave, is upset when Patrick is paired up with him and Bullet. Some words are exchanged.
One day, however, some thieves hold Bullet hostage while he picks up a small $10,000 delivery from a cruise ship. They order Patrick to start loading the other few million dollars in the armored truck onto a flatbed truck. While Patrick’s doing that, one of the thieves points a gun to Bullet’s head 30 yards ahead. Patrick misses the flatbed with one of the bags carrying the loot. Then, when one of the masked thieves in the flatbed goes to retrieve the bag, Patrick shoots him dead while tossing another bag into the flatbed. He then immediately turns around and kills the guy holding Bullet hostage. The other thieves scramble, but Patrick picks them off one by one. He chases down the last remaining guy and wounds him. When the man won’t give up the name of the person who hired him, he shoots the fellow dead.
Back at their company, Patrick is a hero for saving Bullet’s life. Though it’s customary for a guard to take a month off after such a traumatic incident, the company’s owner wants Patrick back in the field. When the company’s manager asks Patrick how he was able to shoot the thieves so expertly despite having barely passed the target shooting requirements, he says that defending Bullet’s life and his own life focused his attention. Dave, however, isn’t buying Patrick’s explanation.
Three months later, there’s another attempted robbery of Patrick, Bullet and Dave’s truck, in Chinatown. This time, the thieves blacken the windshield and the rearview mirrors. They lob a smoke bomb into the cab and order Patrick, Dave and Bullet out of the truck. Coughing, Dave and Bullet exit the truck off to the side. However, when Patrick steps out of the back, he removes the rag covering his mouth and nose against the smoke. One of the thieves gets a good look at Patrick’s face and orders the other thieves to leave. Bullet sees all this happening and starts to become just as suspicious about Patrick as Dave. The company’s owner, however, just thinks Patrick’s reputation from the earlier incident precedes him, but the company’s manager, Terry, replies, “I’m starting to think he’s a psychopath.”
[SPOILERS FOLLOW] Cut to five months earlier. It turns out that the name Patrick gave the company is an alias. Not only that, but he’s actually the stern leader of a crew of sophisticated armored car thieves. The man who ran the Chinatown robbery is his right-hand man. His son, Dougie, was visiting him from England five months ago. On the way to a sporting event of some kind, his right-hand man, Mike, asks him to verify which way a private armored truck they plan to rob is turning from its fenced parking lot. Reluctantly, he agrees, and asks Dougie to wait in the car while he picks up two burritos from a food truck nearby. The armored truck turns out to be the same truck that was robbed in the first scene. The robbery is now seen from Dougie and his father’s viewpoint. One of the thieves orders Dougie to get out of the car and lie down on the ground. However, Dougie watches as one of the guards tries to pull a gun and is shot dead by another thief. The thief promptly murders the second guard. Sadly, he also sees Dougie watching, so he walks up to Dougie and shoots him. He also shoots Dougie’s father when he rushes to come to the aid of his son, but the father survives.
Vowing revenge, Dougie’s father, the man formerly known as Patrick, orders his gang to leave no stone unturned to find out who killed his son. After a rampage of torture and murder, including the murder of a sex trafficking ring of teenage girls, he and Mike decide that the original robbery was an inside job. So, that’s when he decided to infiltrate the private armored truck company and find the traitor and the crew that’s getting his inside information.
Cut back again to five months earlier. The crew that killed Dougie turns out to be a troop of disgruntled American soldiers who fought in Afghanistan. They started off small, but then decided to target the company that Dougie’s revenge-minded father later joined.
Will the father find out the identities of these guys and their man on the inside? You bet, but not before a lot more mayhem ensues.
Writer/Director Guy Ritchie excels at directing crime fiction, from Sherlock Holmes movies to gritty gangster movies. He also did a really great job writing and directing the recent live-action adaptation of Disney’s ALADDIN with Will Smith. WRATH OF MAN is well directed. However, the story is broken up in the middle by the two flashbacks mentioned earlier. It also contains a tremendous amount of gun violence, which gets a bit repetitious by the movie’s big lengthy climax.
In addition to all the gun violence, WRATH OF MAN has some bloody scenes of torture and nearly constant, mostly strong foul language. The lead character is not totally ruthless. He only really wants to kill the thief who shot his son to death. However, he won’t let anyone get in his way. So, WRATH OF MAN ultimately slips into MOVIEGUIDE®’s lowest acceptability rating.