According to writer-director Guy Ritchie, armored car heists have become more common than convenience store robberies, so much so that it’s a wonder anyone would consider a career in money transport. Given the forced tenor of their chatter, there is little doubt that the two armored car drivers that greet us at the outset won’t live to see the opening credits. True to form for Ritchie, this is the first of three times we see the robbery play out, all from different points of view. And is there any doubt that Fortico Security’s smileless new hire Patrick Hill (Jason Statham) is a 100% kind of cash truck driver purposely performing at 70% capacity to eke past the required points to pass the training program? The job’s important to him. Without it, there would be no way for Hill to track down and gut the crew responsible for killing his son during the pre-credits stickup. The plot jumps around like a needle on cracked vinyl, but not once do we feel lost or confused. Before it’s over, the bad guys have a plan that involves knocking over all of Los Angeles’s bulletproof buses on Black Friday. Ritchie’s first two films (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch) suffered from a paucity of subtitles and, when it was possible to understand the dialogue, a plethora of unassuming exchanges. The devastating blows landed by the director’s Sherlock Holmes and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. gave me the just cause needed to sit out his last three movies. But the pandemic brought out aberrant behavior in this moviegoer, and I found myself in the big Grossmont, not so much to see the movie as to once again feel dwarfed in the presence of its immersive 60-foot screen. Two takeaways: Statham makes an adequate substitute for Bruce Willis, and I like Ritchie much more without the forced laughs. Right on both counts I thought as I left, brushing the half-eaten cake crumbs off my shirt. (2021) — Scott Marks
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