Wow. Put a bunch of guys (and a woman) on testosterone overload into an armored-car depot and listen to those gay slurs — or whatever you want to call them — fly.
All of these growling guys (and the woman) in writer-director Guy Ritchie’s “Wrath of Man” (R, 118 minutes, in theaters only) are constantly referring to each other as “ladies” or “Mary Poppins” or something on that order. The occasional jab at a macho man’s masculinity in a locker-room setting is one thing, but this is ridiculous. Could this be Ritchie’s idea of “The Boys in the Band”?
So, “Wrath of Man” definitely gets some points off for dialogue. It’s just not as quick or smart as what might be found in Ritchie’s better films (his 1998 debut feature, “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” remains my favorite).
Dumb dialogue, a so-so story and several cardboard characters aside, “Wrath of Man” is relatively fun. We can thank the casting of Jason Statham in the lead for that. Back in the Ritchie fold, Statham plays the mysterious, stone-cold “H,” who’s out for revenge. (You’ll have to see the movie to know why.) To that end, he joins the armored-car company and almost immediately proves to be the biggest badass among the, uh, ladies.
Though this is one of his stonier performances, Statham almost can’t help but be entertaining. With his gravelly Cockney accent and subtly sarcastic delivery, plus his convincing way with a gun, he’s the perfect action hero. Soon after his trainer at the company introduces himself as “Bullet,” Statham’s H (Bullet gives him the moniker) responds to something he says with, “Whatever you say, Bullet.” Sounds fairly straight-forward, but coming from Statham it’s funny.
Ritchie, as he has proved many times before, also knows how to direct an action sequence. The opening scene, depicting a robbery, is shot from one angle, from the back of an armored truck. By giving us this limited view, Ritchie makes the proceedings that much more intense. (He’s also aided here and throughout the film by an arresting, ominous soundtrack from Christopher Benstead.) Just as good is another robbery attempt, during which H gets to show off his special abilities and cool under pressure. Violence can be entertaining.
Most of the characters, including those played by Josh Hartnett and Andy Garcia, range from annoying (Hartnett) to disposable (Garcia). But watch Darrell D’Silva make the most of his relatively small role as H’s right-hand man, Jim. Rather than playing him as a stock character, D’Silva makes Jim a human being who just happens to be in a brutal business. Ritchie should make a movie just about Jim — as long as D’Silva plays him.
Overall, this is second-rate Ritchie. But second-rate Ritchie isn’t all that bad. ***
They call me ‘Shameless’
That’s right. More self-promotion.
I have two film courses coming up at Cape Cod Community College in West Barnstable, and, since I subscribe to “The More the Merrier” way of thinking, I’m letting you know about them.
You don’t have to be a full-time student to take them. More about that in a bit.
First, there’s Documentary Film. It’s a remote course, with us getting together via Zoom, so you can take it no matter where you live. It’s also accelerated, running from June 7 through July 9 from 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. We’ll watch a lot of documentaries, talk about them, read about them, write about them. It’s the first time I’ve taught this course, but I imagine I’ll stumble through it OK. I suspect we’ll have fun.
Next, there’s Introduction to Film. This will be a fall class, in person at the college, from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Thursdays, Sept. 7 through Dec. 21 (or thereabouts). This class I’ve taught many, many times. Among the films, which we’ll watch in class: “Almost Famous” (my all-time favorite), “The Maltese Falcon,” “The Seventh Seal,” “Vertigo,” “Breathless” and “Do the Right Thing.”
To sign up for either course (or both!), to go https://www.capecod.edu/register/ and then scroll down and click on “Guest Student.” (“Guest” does not mean it’s free, as in “Be my guest!” Sorry.)
Feel free to shoot me an email (see address below) if you have any questions.
** Click here for Tim Miller’s previous movie columns for Cape Cod Wave **
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Tim Miller is a Cape-based member of the Boston Society of Film Critics. He and music producer Tony Raine host “Tim ’n’ Tony’s Rock ’n’ Pop Show” from midnight to 3 a.m. Sunday nights/Monday mornings on WOMR (92.1-FM), WFMR (91.3-FM) and womr.org. Those who aren’t night owls will find archived recordings of the shows at https://womr.org/schedule/broadcast-archive/ . He also teaches film at Cape Cod Community College in West Barnstable. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or follow him onTwitter @TimMillerCritic. Or you can ignore him completely.
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