Sunday, 26 June 2016

I Am Wrath

Remember when Taken came out back in 2009, and we were introduced to a new side of Liam Neeson? With one film he became Hollywood’s go-to badass. Since then, we’ve seen him shoot lots of baddies on land and in the air, and beat the shit out of some wolves just because he can. John Travolta must’ve seen this evolution and thought “I want some of that”.

Out now on DVD and Blu-ray comes I Am Wrath, 61-year-old Travolta’s attempt to be the action hero…and it hasn’t really worked out for him.

Travolta plays unemployed engineer Stanley, who witnesses the murder of his wife Vivian (Rebecca De Mornay) at the hands of car-park thugs. When corrupt police officers fail to bring Vivian’s killers to justice, Stanley turns to his old friend Dennis (Christopher Meloni) for help with a violent revenge plot. But as this story develops, we learn Stanley and Dennis have a mysterious history that they have kept secret for years (yawn) and on top of that Stanley discovers a conspiracy that leads all the way to the top of government (double yawn). I Am Wrath is an embarrassingly predictable affair that seemingly picked up a copy of ‘Action Thrillers for Dummies’ and followed it religiously. There’s poor attempts at humour and some totally unengaging family drama in there aswell, just to fully round it out. Some thrillers are so bad and predictable that it’s kinda funny and endearing…but not here.

John Travolta is trying his best, but it’s just uncomfortable to watch. He isn’t cut out for these action revenge films. Neeson could’ve made this film watchable, or even the ‘great’ Nicolas Cage, but Travolta’s attempts to be young again are just upsetting. I’ve no beef with Travolta - I’m one of the few people who thought he was incredible in The People Vs. OJ Simpson. But other than that performance, he’s let himself down in the last few years with a number of cliché-ridden thrillers like Criminal Activities, The Forger and Killing Season. What are you doing, Travolta?! You were in Pulp Fiction! I guess it all went downhill back in 2000 when he said yes to a little film called Battlefield Earth…Yikes.

We live in a sad cinematic time. We as an audience are like children, growing out of old toys and throwing them aside for new ones. People like Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Anthony Hopkins – and now to a certain extent, John Travolta – seemingly have to do anything they’re offered these days just to try and stay relevant, while the young actors of tomorrow take all the good roles. Remember that song in Toy Story 2, ‘When She Loved Me’? That song is probably how all these actors feel. “When somebody loved me everything was beautiful, every hour we spent together lives within my heart”. That’s De Niro’s jam.

Anyway, what else can you say about a film like I Am Wrath? It succeeds, or in this case fails, on the strength of its lead – or at the very least, it succeeds on their reputation alone. For example, Liam Neeson isn’t particularly good in these films, but he’s gained our trust over the last 7 years making them and we love him for it now. We feel safe with a Liam Neeson thriller. But Travolta, you haven’t earned our love in this genre yet. It doesn’t feel right yet to say “John Travolta action thriller”, does it? You’re making us uncomfortable, Travolta. Stop it.

So what else is there to enjoy here? A tired old conspiracy plot, awful dialogue, a wooden supporting cast, some poor direction from The Scorpion King’s Chuck Russell…There’s nothing to enjoy here. I Am Wrath is just a bad film.

I Am Wrath is a depressingly bland and forgettable experience. It doesn’t do anything even remotely original or fresh, the script is terrible, the plot is one of the most predictable I’ve seen in recent memory, the whole thing is acted stiffly with one of Travolta’s most embarrassing performances yet…I could go on. But I could sum it all up by simply saying DO NOT WATCH IT.

I Am Wrath? I am disappointed. 1/5.

Sam Love

I Am Wrath at CeX

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