The director and star combined in the 1990s with “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and “Snatch” — which highlighted the former’s kinetic style and the latter’s brooding intensity — but last teamed up on “Revolver” in 2005.
Adapted from a 2004 French film, the plot of their latest collaboration begins simply enough, with Statham’s mysterious Patrick Hill taking a job working for an armored car company that transports large amounts of cash. The business is introduced with one of the trucks getting robbed, underscoring that this isn’t a career for the faint of heart.
Still, Hill seems to have more on his mind than just commerce, and the underpinnings of what really motivated him soon become clear. In the movie’s one inventive wrinkle, the key sequence is shown and reshown from multiple perspectives, gradually filling in details about what happened and why, while reinforcing the fact (as if there were any doubt) that Statham’s character is the worst guy to get angry this side of Bruce Banner.
Ritchie populates his nearly all-male cast with familiar faces, among them Holt McCallany as the old pro teaching Hill the ropes and Josh Hartnett as a hotheaded coworker; Jeffrey Donovan and Scott Eastwood as heavies; and cameos by Andy Garcia, Rob Delaney and musical artist Post Malone
, though in this sort of exercise, it’s pretty easy to get lost in the crowd.
After a more mainstream turn into movies like Robert Downey Jr.’s “Sherlock Holmes” adventures and the live-action “Aladdin,”
Ritchie dives into another violent crime tale, but the emphasis here resides more in the overall tone than the way all the mayhem gets shot. Similarly, Statham — who has spent a lot of time recently in “Fast & Furious” mode
— is mostly just furious, inflicting more damage with a gun than his fists or feet, perhaps a sign that time catches up even with the best of us.
Taken on its terms, the movie isn’t terrible strictly as mindless escapism. But beyond the most basic, visceral thrills, “Wrath of Man’s” bitter fruit yields a slim harvest.