I Am Wrath Review
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Unless you live in New York, Los Angeles, or Toronto, it’s always pretty exciting when a film crew shows up in your hometown. It gets people talking—and it builds up hype for the film’s release. But despite the hometown novelty of John Travolta’s I Am Wrath, even I couldn’t enjoy it.

I Am Wrath stars John Travolta as Stan Hill, a Columbus auto worker who gets caught in the middle of the city’s growing gang violence when he witnesses his wife’s brutal murder. After the killer is set free and it becomes all too clear that the local police won’t be able to help him, Stan decides to take matters into his own hands. The former special forces operative gets in touch with his old partner, Dennis (Christopher Meloni), and the two take to the streets to track down the men responsible and bring them to justice.

  
 
Now I’ll admit that, while watching I Am Wrath, I did get a certain amount of enjoyment out of seeing John Travolta wandering through the streets of Columbus. It’s even pretty amusing to see how the film turns my cool Midwestern town into a hotbed of brutal gang violence, with the arts district and hip bars replaced with rough city streets and massive clubs populated by gun-toting tough guys. But, unfortunately, the rest of the film is contrived and unnatural and just plain silly.

The story simply feels too familiar. We’ve seen it all before: a man goes out in search of revenge after a member of his family is attacked, killed, or somehow wronged. It’s so familiar, in fact, that the super-serious way in which it’s handled just makes it laughable. Perhaps, if it had starred Liam Neeson, it would have still been enjoyable—but John Travolta is no Liam Neeson. Even when he’s storming through the city streets with guns blazing, taking down anyone who gets in his way, there’s still something awkward and even comical about him. And despite his long run as a tough detective on Law & Order: SVU, Christopher Meloni seems surprisingly uncomfortable in his role as the gritty special forces operative who joins in his old partner’s mission.

Though the film does have some interesting moments, the acting is awkward, the story is unsurprising, and it all feels half-hearted and slapped-together. So unless you’re from Columbus, feel free to skip this one. After all, you’ve probably already seen it—and you’ve most likely seen it done better.

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