Wrath Of Man is a tight, dramatic gangster film with action that is a step in a different direction for director Guy Ritchie, who is mostly known for heavily stylized edits, amazing music, and dark humor in his films, especially ones that star Jason Statham. That's all gone here in Wrath Of Man, but it's not a bad movie. in fact, it's quite good. Unfortunately, Warner Bros. has decided to only give this release the absolute barebones treatment. There is no 4K transfer coming out in the USA, no Dolby Atmos or 7.1 track, and ZERO bonus features. There's no excuse for this. Rent It Cheap for Statham.
Jason Statham and his favorite director Guy Ritchie are back in the hot rod for their fourth collaboration with Wrath Of Man, a blood-pumping crime thriller with veins of revenge. An English-language remake of the 2004 French movie Cash Truck by Nicolas Boukhrief (Silent Hill screenwriter), Ritchie employs his unique ways of storytelling but leaves the comedic quips and funny dialogue at the front door and aims for a more serious action film with a dry yet fun Statham in tow. While it might not be as much fun or have the quirky characters that Ritchie's Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch had, Wrath Of Man has a great setup and story behind its leading man, even if the film loses itself along the way by trying to stick to its mood and tone that would beg Gotham's Joker to ask, "Why So Serious?"
Wrath Of Man opens with a great heist where a group of masked, armed men holds up a cash truck transporting tons of money to its location. The robbery seems highly planned out, and Ritchie expertly keeps the camera inside the truck, keeping the audience's vision away from anything too revealing. There is screaming, demands, money being thrown around and then, a few loud gunshot booms. The scene ends and cuts to a few months later where Statham enters the picture as Patrick Hill, interviewing for a job at a cash truck company but once hired, is known simply as "H". After barely passing his physical test of shooting guns and driving a car, he is the "rookie on the job" where he's constantly made fun of by his co-workers, including the great Josh Hartnett.
Not soon after, "H" displays his incredible killing skills, as he single-handedly takes out several robbers who are trying to carjack his cash truck, leading to his new coworkers respecting him but also questioning his background. As the film plays out, Ritchie revisits that first heist from different angles and perspectives as more of the story is revealed and different character's pasts and origins are discovered. By traveling to different times throughout the previous year, Ritchie exposes the betrayals and partnerships with a ton of blood and gunshots in the customary Guy Ritchie style sans the comedy, which tends to hurt it a bit.
Ritchie explores the use of the long tracking shots throughout the film to convey the action and carnage. This is something he really isn't known for but excels at it with Wrath Of Man, allowing the action to play without an escape of a quick cut that turns upside down. It is more visceral this way with each death. Statham plays the straight and narrow this time around, which is a bummer because this film desperately needed more than one or two comical lines from him. Nevertheless, he plays the part cool as ever. What the film does suffer from is the number of characters, who are introduced in an excellent way that should somehow pay off by the end. But that time never arrives, and instead, each and every character besides Statham is left in the dark without rhyme or reason - even Josh Hartnett, Andy Garcia, and Eddie Marsan. And that's a shame. The movie and script give them enough character traits to have fun with, but by the end, they are all but forgotten and the film rests on Statham's shoulders, which he can more than handle.
Wrath Of Man is not a film that comes with Ritchie's trademarked stylized editing, comedic dialogue, or even an entertaining retro soundtrack. This is a straight-to-the-heart crime thriller without the pizazz that is the norm of a "Guy Ritchie" film. That being said, the great director knows how to frame and shoot an action sequence with ferocity and exquisite detail. And with Statham's charisma, he makes "H" seem like the greatest person alive when he just comes across as a calm man who can handle himself in a fight. Wrath Of Man needs that comedic element but survives on the technical aspects alone, along with Statham's performance.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Wrath Of Man shoots its way to Blu-ray courtesy of Warner Bros. The disc is housed in a hard, blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve that features the poster artwork for the film. There is an insert for a digital code.
Wrath Of Man comes with a good 1080p HD transfer in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 that looks good with its color palette and level of detail.
The colors in Wrath Of Man are dim, gloomy, and vague, which leads to a muted palette for most of the film. The warehouses and office buildings are darker than normal and contain either grayish and silver lighting and walls or muted earthy tones. On a couple of occasions, some bright primary colors pop out, such as orange jumpsuits, neon bar signs, or an exquisite white flash bomb at the beginning of the film that heightens every color. Other than that, the colors are rather dark. Black levels are deep and inky throughout the various low-lit rooms and interiors, but there are some examples of crush and murkier-than normal black levels. Skin tones are a bit darker as well.
The detail is sharp and vivid though, even in these lighting conditions with Statham's facial stubble looking great, showcasing individual hairs, gory wounds, practical effects, and even textures in the clothing. Vehicle and gun textures all provide the shiny steel look as well. There aren't too many video problems, but since this is a visually darker film, the blood isn't as red as it would be in a big-scale horror film.
There are no plans for a 4K Ultra HD in the USA, which is sad because it would be awesome to see an upgraded 4K transfer with Dolby Vision or HDR10 to really amplify those darker tones.
This release sadly only comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix, which should be a crime. This track begs to feature a Dolby Atmos track or even a 7.1 option, but that's not the case. Sound effects aren't as boisterous as they could be, which is concerning since there are a ton of gun blasts, shots, vehicle chases, and martial arts happening in the film. It all sounds a little muddled and doesn't live up to its full potential.
The rear speakers don't even pack a punch either, but only come into the soundscape a few times when there are big action sequences. There is some nice balance and directionality during shootouts, but again, it isn't as loud as it could be. The score by Chris Benstead always delivers the tone of the film, and the dialogue is clear and clean, free of any audio issues.
There are ZERO bonus features included here, which just doesn't make sense. Not even a trailer is included. Barebones is the word here.
Wrath Of Man is a different kind of Guy Ritchie film that is slower-paced and doesn't contain the usual humor found in his previous gangster-action flicks. Starring Jason Statham, it's pretty straight and narrow and doesn't even feature any quick cuts. This isn't necessarily a bad thing since there are some long tracking shots of brutality to see, but all of the fun is missing from this dramatic action movie. Warner Bros. has basically thrown this Blu-ray release in the garbage, at least in this stateside release due to the lack of a Dolby Atmos track, no 4K release, and absolutely ZERO bonus features. There's no reason for it. Rent It Cheap for Statham.