While you might have a hard time thinking about Jason Statham without putting him in a Guy Ritchie film it has actually been closer to 20 years since the pairing has come up again. Lock Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels and to a larger extent Snatch are definitely the first films that come to mind when talking about either of the pair. Now reunited in the new film Wrath of Man (and soon to be again in another untitled film) does this teamup still have that same flavour?
Not an original story (although Guy Ritchie is not known for that and one of his previous films was centred on Robin Hood for which there have been over 70 adaptions) Wrath of Man is an Americanisation of the french film Le Convoyeur aka Cash Truck from 2004. In the original much like the update the story surrounds a new addition to an Armored Car company.
In the retelling this is of course played by Jason Statham who is definitely a man with focus. Joining the ranks of a recently robbed Armored Car company after it was robbed just outside it’s gates with 2 guards killed in the opening scene of the movie in an extended singular POV cut. Shaw just managing to scrape in with a borderline pass mark for all the company tests (firearms, driving, fitness, etc) joins the crew 3 months on in the first chapter of the film.
Ever the people person The Transporter isn’t long into the job when his truck crew are robbed and instead of following company procedure Shaw elects to go headfirst towards the would be robbers which results in some fairly ruthlessly efficient end and some clue that Handsome Rob may have fudged his test results a little bit and be operating with an ulterior motive.
The film itself is a little bit different in feel from what we expected from Guy Ritchie. There is no nausea inducing locked shaky cam like Robin Hood here but definitely some elements that make us wonder if they were in the original version including use of chapter title cards breaking up the movie as well as time skipping (3 months later then 5 months earlier) announced like locations in a Russo Bros film. With the screenplay written/adapted by Guy Ritchie there is some familiar elements early on with Guy Ritchie dialog that Statham does in his best Lock Stock/Snatch fashion but this is more a Revenge flick inside in a heist movie than a fast past vigilante action one.
So should I go see it? If you are a fan of violent english mob or revenge movies then there is absolutely enough brain matter to go around as the film goes forward. While the style and devices used to create chapters mean we could easily see this being broken up and cut into a limited series on HBO there are a action sequences and continuous shots that make us glad we saw it on a big screen. But now we really want to see the original.
Wrath of Man is in cinemas across Australia right now