Saturday, December 31, 2016

I AM WRATH (2016)

Directed By: Chuck Russell 
Written By: Paul Sloan 
Story By: Yvan Gauthier 
Cinematography By: Andrzej Sekula 

Cast:John Travolta, Christopher Meloni, Rebecca DeMornay, Sam Trammel, Amanda Schull, Asante Jones, Paul Sloan, Patrick St. Esprit, Jordan Whelan 

A man is out for justice after a group of corrupt police officers are unable to catch his wife's killer.

I hate to say it but these John Travolta straight to V.O.D. Movies are kind of addictive. As they are fast becoming guilt pleasures. They know they are ridiculous but fill a certain Niche and are fun and entertaining. He seems to pick his projects better than similar V.O.D. Star Nicolas Cage even if cage's film sometimes go to theaters as his are more indie. Where as Travolta's seem to stay in the action thriller genre.

It's also strange as when it comes to John Travolta. He knows, we know that he is bald and wears hairpieces in films. Sort of like Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson but the fact that he wears them also usually in public and not makes it confusing. As it is bad enough in films he looks like a wax figure of himself with make-up which at times can be distracting.

I like him to a degree, but wonder is he deluding us or thinks he is or truly deluding himself. Through like John Cusack and again Nicolas Cage movie stars of yesteryear having a bit of a career resurgence thanks to V.O.D. Productions. So I am thinking now might be a good time for a bargain budgeted FACE OFF sequel.

When it comes to this film it is a vigilante revenge film. Though DEATH WISH this is not. As it never takes a second to think of the ramifications of it's actions. The film is low budget. Like Steven Seagal V.O.D. Low budget. That works for it's supposed grittiness Originally to be directed by William Friedkin and star Nicolas Cage, production problems forced Cage and Friedkin to leave. In late February of 2015, John Travolta was in talks for the lead.

The film is rather simple, intentionally and unintentionally funny as John Travolta seeks revenge rather easily and like JOHN WICK from the similarly named film. Seems to be a former bad ass with weapons, cars and identities hidden away at the ready, only here thanks to an ex partner.

The cops seem so inept in this film and really like they could care less about the case. Especially in the police line up scene where they seem to not want him to identify the right guy. Of course later on we are given more of a reasons for heir behavior.

The film has easy to hate villains. Who kill senselessly though then ends up becoming a conspiracy movie all of a sudden. The problem is that the villains aren't memorable or that threatening Any success they have seems more out of luck or because the script sets it up that way. It never seems natural or part of their actual skill set. So that they never feel that threatening, more like a symbol or idea that they must fight against or more like infiltrate and destroy like the personality missing enemy soldiers in early war films.

I hate to keep bringing him up but this feels more like Cage territory. Though there is no room for his acting type or type of performance. These films are dead serious but come off as a bit tongue in cheek as the characters never truly feel threatened it worried. Maybe that is how they keep their nerves down.

Though the film is simple. At least they know what type of films they are. They don't try to be anything else bit what the title or poster promises. They are what they are with minimal amounts of twists or drama. That remind one of the type of action films being wrung out with a fan base during the 1990's if anything these stars are hampering the career of some action upstarts or straight to horn video action stars who still need work such as Billy Banks, Thomas Ian Griffith, Phillip Rhee, Michael Dudikoff. Then again these films are more fun oriented then hand to hand combat.

I might have enjoyed the film more if co-star Christopher Meloni would have been the lead and John Travolta play more against type as the right hand man. As Christopher Meloni looks more the parts still he excels in his supporting role here and their team up is what helps the film.

I will admit like his VOD cohort John Travolta has a certain energy that he brings to his roles and thus the movies he appears In he dies better at containing it and letting it out in doses and moments or holding it in and it comes across in his face. Though he does much better at being smoldering even when he is playing the role by the book.

When he decides to put a plan into action by throwing he bible he was given and it opens to the page with the exact quote that is the title of the film. You know exactly what type of film this is going to be for the remainder of it.

The film at least has the familiar cliche or having the two leads practically seem invincible though aged it makes you wonder throughout that maybe they won't make it to the end.

Even though one last minute twist truly makes the film come off as more over the top and campy then any real revenge thriller. Even as it tries to go an emotional route. It doesn't stay there too long and it lets the action win out.

Grade: C-

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