I Am Wrath gave me high hopes as it came from Chuck Russell, the same director as Arnie’s 1996 action epic Eraser, even if that was 20 years ago.
John Travolta had a career resurgence in 1994 when he played hitman Jules in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, but since then, his acting roles have been hit and miss. This is more of a miss as he is car salesman Stanley Hill, married to Vivian (Rebecca De Mornay), an idealistic mom working for Governor Meserve (Patrick St. Esprit), a man who states over and over that he’ll crack crime, so…. oopsy! when she gets murdered by opportunistic thieves.
The police do nothing about his wife’s killer, but then we all know they’re far too busy eating donuts, and if they were Greater Manchester Police, they’d most likely apologise to the ne’er-do-wells for the inconvenience and give them a cup of tea. Hence, Stan has to go for vengeance on his own and, after accidentally reading a particular passage in the bible, he becomes wrath… which makes him sound like a Marvel or DC superhero, but in reality, he just huffs and puffs a bit.
He goes a bit ‘John Wick‘ in a way I won’t reveal here and you get the impression that he and best friend and barber, Dennis (Christopher Meloni), who helps him out, go way back in a military career. Trouble is, as the goes after the bad guys, bumping them off, getting ever closer to gangster kingpin Lemi K (Paul Sloan, who also co-wrote those – or probably just shouted at the page and expected the words to appear) and since the cops know he doesn’t like them, it won’t take them long to put two and two together, so isn’t there a better way of doing this?
It’s very much a sub-par revenge flick – not as good as John Wick (and doesn’t manage to fit in any sort of a fantasy world like that film), yet still an improvement on Taken 2 and Taken 3. However, like Keanu Reeves’ character, he does pop into a nightclub, although in a hoodie, even though no real nightclub would even let you in through the door with one of those covering your face. Probably better he does that, though, since with his dodgy syrup, he looks rather like a Arnie in the first Terminator film when you just see his robot struggling to move properly.
And a spoiler heading about something in relation to that…
I was going to end this review with a callback to Arnie’s movie, stating “the production tapes of this film should’ve been erased”, but while it’s not that bad, it should’ve been a whole heap better.
The picture is typical for a modern DVD – no major issues, but looks a bit soft compared to a Blu-ray, while the sound is in Dolby Digital 5.1, yet fails to give anything of note in the rear speakers. Chapters are the bog-standard 12, the menu mixes clips from the film with some incidental music and, as for the extras, it’s time to become wrath and seek revenge, because there are none!
Running time: 89 minutes
Studio: 101 Films
Released: May 16th 2016
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Disc Format: DVD9
Director: Chuck Russell
Producers: Rob Carliner, Michael Mendelsohn, Richard Salvatore and Nick Vallelonga
Screenplay: Yvan Gauthier and Paul Sloan
Music: Haim Mazar
Stanley Hill: John Travolta
Dennis: Christopher Meloni
Abbie: Amanda Schull
Vivian Hill: Rebecca De Mornay
Charley: Luis Da Silva Jr.
Det. Gibson: Sam Trammell
Det. Walker: Asante Jones
Rosa: Doris Morgado
Governor Meserve: Patrick St. Esprit
Lars: James Logan
Lemi K: Paul Sloan
News Reporter: Melissa Bolona
Bar Patron: Kim Evans
Meth Head: Robert Oppel
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.