- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 29, 2021

Here’s a look at a pair of action thrillers directed by Guy Ritchie.

Wrath of Man (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, rated R, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, 118 minutes, $34.98) — Mr. Ritchie delivered another machismo-soaked action thriller this year, muscled up by Jason Statham and taking a clever spin on the typical heist movie.

The story, broken up into four nonlinear parts, covers the many facets of the mysterious Patrick Hargreaves (Mr. Statham) first seen joining a Los Angeles’ armored car company, and despite displaying average skills during testing, manages to stop a robbery by single-handedly killing all of the criminals.

Of course, there is more than meets the eye with Mr. Hargreaves as he is being watched by the FBI, has a crew of slickly dressed thugs, and seeks clues about a gang of soldiers as he blurs the line between villain and anti-hero on a mission of revenge of a loved one.

The testosterone level is off the rails in the film as supporting actors such as Holt McCallany and Josh Hartnett as guards and Scott Eastwood as a robber unleash the profanity and gunfire while the understated Statham comfortably fits into his favorite mold as a methodical killer as he hunts.



Viewers will find the narrative structure and violence playing in Quentin Tarantino’s space, but it’s a riveting ride, especially as we wait for Mr. Statham to do what he does best.

Best extras: Surprisingly, neither Warner Bros. nor Mr. Ritchie offers any bonus content. Considering the film did decent business worldwide and offers plenty of action worthy of dissection, that’s very disappointing.

Equally annoying is only offering the film in the Blu-ray format, not in ultra-high definition, which would have made the brutality and car chases spread out over an urban Los Angles so much more visually satisfying.

Snatch (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, rated R, 1.85:1 aspect ratio, 102 minutes, $22.99) — Mr. Ritchie’s second film, a violently dark British heist comedy back in 2000, debuts in the UHD format to allow the visuals to shine as brightly as the dynamic story.

A legendary ensemble cast brought to life a group of colorful characters in a story submerged in a London underworld teeming with wise guys, thugs and thieves.

The interweaving narrative splits the time between Franky Four Fingers (Benicio del Toro) and his gang stealing and losing an 86-carat diamond and the fixing of prize fights by Turkish (Jason Statham), his buddy Tommy (Stephen Graham) and mob boss “Brick Top” Pulford (Alan Ford).

The star power also included Brad Pitt as Irish gypsy Mickey O’Neil (who has the most unintelligible accent), Dennis Franz as a New York jeweler Cousin Avi, Rade Serbedžija as Russian mobster Boris “The Blade” Yurinov and Lennie James as small-time crook Sol.

The 4K transfer, built from the original camera negative, is so crisp that even the opening credits using video monitor footage look incredibly sharp.

However, the full-screen presentation’s visuals are overall murky and dim, especially with interior scenes mired in the blandness of browns and greens.

Unfortunately, the colors are true to the source material as Mr. Ritchie and cinematographer Tim Maurice-Jones’ chose an urban color palette so that even flames are a sickly yellow.

Those new to the film and expecting a bounty of saturated pop and color from any high dynamic range enhancements might be scratching their heads.

Best extras: Viewers get nothing but the movie on the 4K disc. However, pop in the Blu-ray to get all of the extras from the 2009 high definition release.

So, first, rewatch the film and slightly suffer through an optional commentary track from the director and producer Matthew Vaughn.

The track is surprisingly mild-mannered and dull, with both participants responding to each’s questions with minimal words and occasionally getting testy. They also mention that Mr. Statham was a no-show for the session, which might have contributed to their surliness, but his presence certainly would have made the track more fun.

Mr. Richie does most of the talking and does cover the cast, editing and shot breakdowns, but considering the frenetic and clever style of the action, I expected a much more enthusiastic commentary.

Next, a 24-minute production featurette offers a much livelier look at making the film with plenty of on-set hijinks with Mr. Statham occasionally breaking in to interview the director and producer as the trio enjoy playing chess games and making fun of one another.

Other extras include six deleted scenes and a cutting-room interactive that has viewers assemble a scene from the movie while even adding sound effects, music and titles.

It requires using an external storage device on the player and is a ridiculously complex tool that early adopters of the Blu-ray format will fondly appreciate.

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