I Am Wrath (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
July 16, 2016 by Dennis Amith
Chuck Russell’s “I Am Wrath” may not have had a theatrical release, but it’s one of the very good recent direct-to-video action films that I have watched and really enjoyed in awhile. If you love action/vengeance type of films, you’ll no doubt enjoy “I Am Wrath”.
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TITLE: I Am Wrath
FILM RELEASE: 2016
DURATION: 91 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1), English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Subtitles: English, English SDH and Spanish
RATED: R (Violence and Some Language)
Release Date: July 26, 2016
Directed by Chris Russell
Story by Yvan Gauthier, Paul Sloan
Adaptation by Randy Brown
Produced by DeVon Franklin, T.D. Jakes, Joe Roth
Executive-Producer: Matthew Hirsch, Zack Roth, Derrick Williams
Cinematography by Checco Varese
Music by Carlo Silotto
Edited by Emma E. Hickox
Production Design: David Sandefur
Art Direction by Doug Fick
Set Decoration by Brana Rosenfeld
Costume Design by Mary Jane Fort
John Travolta as Stanley
Christopher Meloni as Dennis
Amanda Schull as Abbie
Sam Trammell as Det. Gibson
Patrick St. Esprit as Gov. Meserve
Rebecca De Mornay as Vivian
Asante Jones as Det. Walker
Paul Sloan as Lemi K
Luis Da Silva Jr. as Charley
Jordan Whalen as Mike
John Travolta is Stanley Hill, a former Black Ops agent who witnessed his wife’s death at the hands of a street gang. When corrupt cops let the prime suspect walk, Stanley takes the law into his own hands. Joined by a former comrade-in-arms (Christopher Meloni), Stanley uncovers a conspiracy that leads to the upper ranks of government, as he heads toward a guns-blazing, take-no-prisoners showdown for justice.
From Chris Russell, the director of “The Mask”, “Eraser”, “A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors”, “The Scorpion Kings” comes his latest action film “I Am Wrath”.
Featuring a story by Yvan Gauthier and written by Paul Sloan, “I Am Wrath” stars John Travolta (“Pulp Fiction”, “Grease”, “Face/Off”), Christopher Meloni (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”, “Man of Steel”, “42”), Amanda Schull (“Center Stage”, “12 Monkeys”, “J. Edgar”), Sam Trammell (“True Blood”, “Alien vs. Predator: Requiem”, “Autumn in New York”), Patrick St. Esprit (“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”, “Super 8”, “Independence Day: Resurgence”) and Rebecca De Mornay (“Risky Business”, “Wedding Crashers”, “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle”.
The direct-to-video film will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in July 2016.
The film begins with an introduction to the violence that has corrupted Ohio. And Gov. Meserve (portrayed by Patrick St. Esprit) is giving a speech about how he cut crime in the state. When the people want to know more about getting clean water and stopping the pipeline.
We then see daughter, Abbie (portrayed by Amanda Schull) telling her mom, Vivian (portrayed by Rebecca De Mornay) that she is famous because her project was discussed on television. But Vivian talks about how she’s just doing the numbers for the secretary of the governor.
The film then cuts to Vivian going to the airport to pickup her husband Stanley (portrayed by John Travolta), an unemployed engineer who wentt to California for a job interview.
Excited about the possibility of getting a new job, as the two are walking back to their vehicle, a man comes asking for money.
Stanley refuses and then we see the man along with two other men knocking Stanley out and then murdering Vivian.
As Stanley awakes to find out his wife is dead, Det. Gibson (portrayed by Sam Trammell) and Det. Walker (portrayed by Asante Jones) works with Stanley to learn about the assailants.
At the funeral of Vivian, a priest gives Stanley a bible and as Stanley is not a religious man, he throws the bible and the pages that the book opens to is quotes from Jeremiah 6:11 (But I am full of the wrath of the LORD, and I cannot hold it in. “Pour it out on the children in the street and on the young men gathered together; both husband and wife will be caught in it, and the old, those weighed down with years).
When Stanley is brought back to a police lineup and sees the man who was asking for money, the police don’t do anything and let the man go.
Upset that the police didn’t do anything to stop the men, Stanley goes to his closet and looks at the wall. He punches down the wall and inside is a bag, with a phone and weapons. We learn that Stanley is a former Black Ops agent and he promised Vivian to leave that life before they got married.
Stanley calls up another former Black Ops member, Dennis (portrayed by Christopher Meloni), who has become a barber but behind the walls is a stash of weapons and gadgets. And Stanley goes to him for intel on the men who killed his wife but also to access weaponry.
As Dennis cautions Stanley about vengeance, Stanley tells him he wants justice for Vivian. And Dennis agrees to help his friend out.
Meanwhile, behind-the-scenes, we learn that Det. Gibson and Det. Walker have been working with crime lord Lemi K (portrayed by Paul Sloan) and the lowering of crime is not because of Gov. Meserve’s stance on crime but that the governor and the police officers have been working with Lemi K, protecting his people and allowing his drug deals in order to give people of Ohio, the sense that he has cut crime in the state.
But what these corrupt officials, police officers and Lemi K are not aware is that Stanley is determined to put friction in their relationship as he intends to go after those responsible for killing his wife.
“I Am Wrath” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio). The film looks vibrant in outdoor scenes and close ups are full of detail. Skintones look natural, black levels are nice and deep. I didn’t notice any banding or artifacts during my viewing of the film. For the most part, picture quality for the film is great!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“I Am Wrath” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. As one can expect, the film is action-driven, thus the gun shots, explosions and fights utilize the surround channels and LFE effectively. While not super immersive, the lossless soundtrack is good.
Subtitles are in English, English SDH and Spanish.
“I Am Wrath” comes with the following special feature:
- Filmmaker commentary – Featuring an audio commentary by director Chris Russell and writer/actor Paul Sloan.
“I Am Wrath” comes with a slipcover and an UltraViolet Digital HD code.
Possibly one of John Travolta’s better action films, “I Am Wrath” is exciting and action-packed.
Don’t let the “direct-to-video” fool you, as “I Am Wrath” is entertaining and has the potential of having more “I Am Wrath” sequels in the future.
The film revolves around Stanley, a former Black Ops agent who ended his career to pursue a life as a family man and engineer before marrying his beloved Vivian.
The two would raise a daughter but being unemployed, he has been looking for work outside of the state. Considering that the state he lives in, that is experiencing tremendous crime, moving out for the safety of his family is probably a good thing.
Unfortunately, the day he comes back from a job interview, while he and his wife are walking back to their vehicle, they are beaten and mugged and his wife is murdered.
Having witnessed his wife’s murder and the police not doing much to apprehend the criminals, Stanley who had promised his wife before they were married that he would leave his Black Ops life in the past, has decided to get justice for his wife’s death by going after those responsible.
Teaming up with fellow former Black Ops agent, Dennis…Stanley wants payback!
Because the film was direct-to-video, I was skeptical because the first thing that came to mind was low-budget, popcorn B flick and it has been over a decade since Chuck Russell directed his last action film.
But knowing filmmaker Chuck Russel’s work in the ’90s with “The Mask” and “Eraser” and even the 2002 film “The Scorpion King”, you have to give him and Travolta the benefit of the doubt and see what they can do together with “I Am Wrath” and for the most part, the collaboration was exciting, action-packed and was not too deep in darkness or revenge, you have many humorous moments, especially between Stanley and his friend Dennis.
And while “I Am Wrath” does not have the budget of the high caliber of explosions compared to Liam Neeson’s “Taken” films, I really do feel there is potential in having more films with former Black Ops characters, Stanley and Dennis. And it’s these type of popcorn action films that many gravitate to that whether or not they are released theatrically or straight-to-video, audiences love them.
So, it’s great to see John Travolta in this type of protagonist action role and also great to see Rebecca De Mornay on film again as well! And as for Christopher Meloni, while we have seen him in agent roles before, it’s great to see him in a major action role, kicking butt in “I Am Wrath”.
As for the Blu-ray release, “I Am Wrath” looks great on Blu-ray with close-ups showing great detail, skin tones look natural and I didn’t notice any problematic issues during my viewing of the film. Lossless audio was also good considering this is an action film and good use of the surround channels and LFE. And you get a single commentary included on the Blu-ray release.
Overall, Chuck Russell’s “I Am Wrath” may not have had a theatrical release, but it’s one of the very good recent direct-to-video action films that I have watched and really enjoyed in awhile. If you love action/vengeance type of films, you’ll no doubt enjoy “I Am Wrath”.
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