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The Transporter

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Christopher Raphael/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures

MOVIE REVIEW
Wrath of Man (2021)

After a seemingly endless series of retreads (“Sherlock Holmes” times two, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” and . . . “Aladdin”?!), Guy Ritchie returned to mining his own oeuvre with 2019’s “The Gentlemen.” His latest, “Wrath of Man,” directly recalls one of his lesser known offerings, 2005’s “Revolver,” with Jason Statham navigating through some twisty shenanigans. But since it’s a remake of Nicolas Boukhrief’s 2004 film, “Cash Truck,” it too qualifies as a retread.

Given the twistedness of the plot, it’s nearly impossible for a review not to give away some spoilers. Let’s just put it this way: The film ends exactly how you think it’ll end, albeit it absolutely waits until there are fewer than 10 minutes of runtime left.

Mr. Ritchie appears to have taken criticism of the anti-Asian racism in “The Gentlemen” to heart and excluded Asians completely from an otherwise diverse cast. He has redirected his contempt this time toward the gays, as the entire first act is dripping with homophobia. Mr. Statham, known here simply as H, shows up at an armored truck transport company and barely makes a passing grade on the skill tests requisite for employment. During his onboarding, he meets a parade of overtly unfriendly colleagues who greet him with a torrent of anti-gay taunts, yet he is unbowed by the hostile work environment.

In no time H skillfully thwarts an armed robbery – committed by, of all people, Post Malone – firmly establishing that he’s not who he appears to be and that he has an ulterior motive for working this job. We soon learn that H has a past, and that there are no good guys in this movie. This is as bleak, joyless and cynical as it gets: Everyone is double dealing. The main antagonists are U.S. veterans of the war in Afghanistan. There is no hero.

Mr. Statham’s best movies are often bonkers (i.e. “Crank”), or at least Eurotrashy Luc Besson productions. Here, the acting – or the lack thereof – is the only thing that registers.

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