‘Wrath Of Man’ Blu-Ray Review – Guy Ritchie Gives Up Humor For This Unsparingly Gritty Crime Thriller

Last year fans of the great Guy Ritchie welcomed back the director to the world of the personality-driven gangster drama with his fun and gritty The Gentlemen. The filmmaker had been off in the world of big-budget tentpoles like Aladdin and Sherlock Holmes for so long that it seemed he might never return to the genre that catapulted him to fame. Now here we are only a year later and we already have another entry in the same vein from him, except this time we have one of the stars that was catapulted alongside him with his debut Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Jason Statham (Hobbs & Shaw) reunites with Ritchie for the first time in ages to tackle a script based loosely on the 2004 French film Cash Truck by Nicolas Boukhrief. While the typical Ritchie film is filled with chaotic humor to help the violence go down more smoothly, Wrath of Man eschews most of this in favor of an unrelentingly dour tone that ratchets up the tension but also draws a more critical eye to some of the film’s shortcomings. 

The film begins with a central event that will spiral out and affect many different lives over the course of the narrative. The shot composition of the moment is effective as this long take follows two faceless security guards in an armored truck in an almost voyeuristic fashion before their lives are upended by a smash-and-grab robbery that leaves viewers uneasy in the way context is withheld. You understand that things did not go completely as planned and bodies have quickly accumulated, but the full extent of the moment you will not know until much later in the film. It is one hell of a way to begin a film, but it is only the first example of tension being undercut by frankly terrible dialogue. The script gets noticeably better from this point forward, but there are still many moments that will leave audiences questioning what happened to the writer who brought us such clever movies like Snatch

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By far the highlight of the film is Jason Statham, who does not exactly stretch his acting abilities but taps into a menacing side that we have been missing for a bit. Statham plays Patrick “H” Hill (simply known as H – “like the bomb”), a man who we first see applying to the security company that just had their armored car knocked over. His soon-to-be superior, Terry (Eddie Marsan, Happy-Go-Lucky), reveals to him that two guards were lost in the robbery five months back before welcoming him to the team after a thorough review of his references. He is put under the wing of Bullet (a stellar Holt McCallany, Mindhunter), a seemingly sweet-natured fellow who oversees H’s qualification tests – he barely passes his marksmanship test. The mysterious quality surrounding H is only amplified after his first day on the job results in a foiled heist that has him dispatching the robbers with impeccable precision. The suits at the company view him as a godsend, but there are some among them who believe is not exactly who he says he is. 

It is not a spoiler to say they have good reason to be concerned. He has a very personal reason for being at the company, and through careful flashbacks you get all of the pieces to this probably overly-complicated puzzle. The movie is broken into different sections that explore the robbery from the beginning of the film from different perspectives. When we get some insight into the gang who perpetrated the initial hit, the movie settles into a nice sweet spot for a while. As the leader of the group, Jeffrey Donovan (Let Him Go) toggles the line between nobility and greed in a really interesting way. Raúl Castillo (We The Animals) feels slightly underutilized given the amount of talent he has at his disposal, but he makes the most out of his limited character development. The “meat” of this section goes to Scott Eastwood (The Fate of the Furious) as the unhinged Jan. The talent assembled in this chapter of the film has a more consistent quality about them, but this may just be due to their lines being less cringe worthy than elsewhere in the film. 

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As alluded to earlier, there is a stark lack of humor in this film that works for this particular story, but simultaneously shines a light on the “funny” lines that do not work (“you just worry about putting your asshole back in your asshole and leave this to me”). These are the types of lines that might have sailed right by in Ritchie’s more humorous flick but sinks like a lead balloon here. The most grievous example of this is the Josh Hartnett (Most Wanted) character of “Boy Sweat” Dave. Josh Hartnett is an actor who we love to appreciate, but what he is given to do in this film makes him seem like a terrible actor. There is so much dialogue in this film that hits the ear wrong, but thankfully the film concludes with a thrilling, bullet-ridden climax that redeems the film in many respects. All of the narrative threads come together in an exciting way that you want a Guy Ritchie movie to, and there is very little dialogue to muck it up. Wrath of Man had the potential to be among the best films that Guy Ritchie has ever produced, but something went wrong somewhere when it came to crafting the script. The movie is still on the entertaining side of the spectrum, but it is a missed opportunity in many respects. 

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Video Quality

Wrath Of Man comes to Blu-Ray with a stunning 1080p transfer which comes from a 4K source. Once again, Warner has treated a film that is tailor-made for the 4K UHD Blu-Ray experience poorly by not releasing it on that format. The film leans toward the cooler side of the spectrum with blue and grey tones taking more of a precedent in the presentation. The color palette is fairly neutral throughout most of the film, but there are the occasional pops of color, such as certain costume pieces and elements of the production design. Black levels hold up well with no glaring instances of black crush present outside of a minimal amount in the very darkest scenes. Digital noise and artifacting are a non-issue with this release. The amount of distinct clarity and detail present on this Blu-Ray is truly something to behold. Subtle details on faces are amazingly clear and fine texture such as facial hair holds up surprisingly well both in close-ups and long shots. This is a great presentation for a very visually polished film. The only drawback is the fact that this is a film that would have looked incredible on 4K UHD Blu-Ray. 

Audio Quality

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is extremely engaging, and it never fails to deliver something truly stellar. It may only be viewed as a disappointment when compared to what we could have had with a Dolby Atmos presentation. The soundscape on display here is very rich with a nuanced design from the varied set pieces. This film is mostly suspenseful with kinetic moments punctuating the narrative and providing a boost to the proceedings. The numerous instances of gunfire in the film pack a punch that you will not soon forget. The finale is especially chaotic and hard hitting in this respect as bullets whizz by from every direction. The score fills the room quite well without being too overwhelming to the competing elements. Dialogue comes through crystal clear with none of the information feeling lost to the music in the film or the sound effects. All of the effects have a nice sense of direction within the mix with noises such as the chatter in the office really springing to life. The movie uses environmental sounds to great effect, and the track retains strong detail even in the more chaotic developments. The track is a knockout throughout the entire runtime. 

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Special Features

There are no special features included on this disc. 

Final Thoughts

Wrath Of Man is a grim film which offers up a twisty, entertaining narrative that is hampered somewhat by the pedestrian dialogue that these otherwise talented performers are forced to deliver. Jason Statham is back in intimidating tough-guy mode which has always served him well. Those who are willing to forgive some of the script issues are likely to revel in the chaotic conclusion of the film which will leave you on a high that makes the film seem better than it is as a complete work. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has released a Blu-Ray with a perfectly solid A/V presentation but nothing in the way of special features. 

Wrath Of Man is currently available to purchase on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital. 

Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.

Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.