BAXTER — It’s been said, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” But a grieving father with a score to settle for the violent death of his only son must be a close second.
English actor Jason Statham stars in the new release “Wrath of Man,” an R-rated crime thriller playing at the Lakes 12 Theatre in Baxter and the Sunset Cinema in Pequot Lakes.
Statham is again an antihero out in the action-packed movie filled with bare-knuckled brawls, shootouts and explosions surrounding the emotional core of the film’s screenplay.
The follicly-challenged action star takes a job as a security guard for a company specializing in providing cash trucks or armored vehicles to transfer U.S. currency around Los Angeles.
Statham is given the nickname “H” by his trainer, and his mettle is soon tested during an attempted armed heist in which he dispenses the would-be robbers with surprising ease.
It soon becomes apparent the taciturn new hire with the impeccable job record may not be all that he appears to be, but the owner of the cash truck company is pleased as can be with H’s life- and money-saving heroics and could care less about H’s apparent lack of social skills.
Some of his coworkers applaud H’s daring deeds while others can’t decide if he’s reckless, crazy or suicidal, but he keeps his job even though he has his own agenda for working there.
A key scene deals with another armed heist of another cash truck with the same company in the past at a construction site that resulted in the death of two security guards — and H’s son.
The familial connection between H and the death of his boy is unknown to everyone he works with but is the driving force behind his man-on-a-mission, dead-eye stare for much of the film.
St. Paul native (and one-time teen heartthrob) Josh Hartnett takes a leading role in the feature film with Statham, playing a trash-talking coworker in his first major motion picture role in years.
“Boy Sweat Dave,” as Hartnett’s character is called in the movie, busts H’s proverbial chops but proves to be more bark than bite in later gun-drawn situations where he cowers when H shines.
“Do you have any idea how dangerous this job can be? … We ain’t the predators. We’re the prey,” Boy Sweat Dave tells H during H’s first day as an armored truck security guard.
"Do you have any idea how dangerous this job can be? … We ain’t the predators. We’re the prey."
— “Boy Sweat Dave," an armored truck company security guard, tells "H."
When Statham is not killing someone in the two-hour movie, he plays H with such minimalism as to appear catatonic in his grief for not being there for his son when it really counted.
But H also comes across on the silver screen as an unstoppable force of nature hell-bent on a scorched earth policy of retribution for those who killed his boy or had anything to do with it.
The Johnny Cash classic “Folsom Prison Blues” is slowed down in tempo and comprises part of the soundtrack of the movie to underline the almost inevitability of bloodshed and fury.
“I hear the train a-comin’. It's rolling ‘round the bend. And I ain’t seen the sunshine, since I don’t know when,” sings Cash (or someone like him) to mirror the darkness H finds himself in his heart, which is now broken because of his son’s senseless killing as a bystander.
There are also plenty of plot twists, double-crosses and flashbacks in the feature film from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Miramax that was released by United Artists on Friday, May 7.
It’s Statham’s fourth collaboration with fellow Englishman Guy Ritchie, the director best known for other machismo-filled films like “Snatch” and “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.”
“Wrath of Man” is a remake of the 2004 French film “Le Convoyeur” written by Nicolas Boukhrief and Éric Besnard, and directed by Boukhrief, a French screenwriter, film director, actor and formal journalist.
The cast of Ritchie’s adaptation includes other well-known and respected actors such as Jeffrey Donovan and Andy Garcia, up-and-coming actor Scott Eastwood (scion of Hollywood legend and male archetype Clint Eastwood) as well as popular musician Post Malone.
Ritchie may be better known to some as Madonna’s ex-husband, but he’s also responsible for such crowd-pleasers and reimagining of older characters and movies such as the “Sherlock Holmes” franchise, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” and “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.”
“Wrath of Man” holds a 66% approval rating among critics and a 91% approval rating among audiences at Rotten Tomatoes, a review-aggregation website for film and television.
The consensus from the RottenTomatoes critics: “Wrestling just enough stakes out of its thin plot, ‘Wrath of Man’ sees Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham reunite for a fun, action-packed ride.”