I Am Wrath Blu-ray Review
The ease at which movies can be made now can sometimes be wonderful, especially when you factor in the number of indie gems that make their way into the public realm via streaming, Netflix, or straight to video releases. Movies like SLOW WEST, FRANK and SWISS ARMY MAN are a few of the more recognizable titles, but there are some that are still unknown, waiting to be discovered. Of course the inevitable downside from a more bountiful machine pumping out film after film is that we get cinematic turds like I AM WRATH.
With no other opportunities knocking on John Travolta’s door, the aging actor stars as Stanley, a man on a warpath. His wife is murdered in an airport parking lot, left to die in his arms as the perpetrators get away. As to how the perpetrators could get away with murder at a major international airport, is one of the more minor plot holes. Stanley, much like Liam Neeson in the TAKEN movies or Charles Bronson in the DEATH WISH movies, has a list of skills that he’ll utilize. It comes in handy since the police aren’t willing to help and are just as inept as they are corrupt.
Teaming up with Stanley is Dennis, played by Christopher Meloni, who was tragically not being asked to be in anything else at the time of this movie’s filming. I guess I’m more upset that Meloni is in this because I’ve grown to admire his underrated skills as an action star while I’m still up in the air about whether or not Travolta is worth of the title action star. Travolta’s star is fading while Meloni’s continues to be polished for fresh eyes. Outside of that, I AM WRATH is tragically predictable.
I say tragically because this is a script that may have had a shot at being decent a couple of decades ago. But even then it suffers from convoluted ideas. I AM WRATH tries to make us believe that there’s a grander scheme at place, involving the Ohio governor and other seedy government higher-ups. The movie even begins with a series of spliced, fake, news footage highlighting the shadow government as well as a minor moral message about how violent society is becoming increasingly violent. I think it was SCARY MOVIE or some other parody movie that says violent movies don’t make violent people, bad movies do.
Barely five minutes in and I got the sense that the actors on screen had already succumb to the derivative narrative that they had been given. Many of them seemed to be acting with the gusto of an elementary school and reading lines in the hopes of getting through I AM WRATH as painlessly as possible. It’s bad when Travolta shows up and is the first instance of acting in the movie. Making things worse is when Meloni shows up and you see he’s actually trying as well. It also may be because the two enjoy each other’s company and actually like acting together, especially since this isn’t their first on-screen rodeo.
Sometimes something is so bland; it’s hard to give it any creative negative adjectives because it so effortlessly gave you nothing in return for your attention. Watching I AM WRATH was more depressing than it was frustrating. It’s because something like this got the approval of some movie executive who could have easily greenlit a dozen other scripts on his or her desk. I guess I can always hope that the next unheard of movie that I have the chance to watch is another THE WITCH or THE LOBSTER, but I’m not holding my breath when there’s still actors like Travolta collecting dust and willing to star in garbage.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) The picture is so clear, you can tell when something is staged or fake. That’s an indictment of the movie, but a positive of the blu-ray.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) So much of the movie seems deathly quiet compared to the blaring action sequences.
Filmmaker Commentary: This features the co-writers, Chuck Russell and Paul Sloan. As much as I’d like to give them credit for their commentary, I ultimately can’t because of their sloppy writing.