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Review: Travolta, Meloni satisfy in familiar ‘I Am Wrath’

‘I Am Wrath’
John Travolta stars in the movie “I Am Wrath.”
(Saban Films / Lionsgate)

The plot points play out like they were written with yellow Hi-Liter, but the standard-issue revenge thriller, “I Am Wrath” still proves somewhat satisfying thanks to the pairing of John Travolta and Christopher Meloni as reformed black-ops agents pressed back into action after a personal tragedy.

On the surface, Travolta’s Stanley Hill is an everyman husband and father working as a auto plant manager in Columbus, Ohio — until his wife (Rebecca De Mornay) is brutally killed in an apparently random act of violence.

When the cops abruptly release the perpetrator (Luis Da Silva Jr.), Hill seeks out his personal brand of justice with the help of Meloni, now a barber who does intelligence work on the side.

Yes, we’ve seen this stuff many, many times before (often involving Liam Neeson), but Travolta, who took over the role from Nicolas Cage, and Meloni, who’s looking more and more like Robert De Niro every day, have a loose, easy chemistry that goes a long way to enliven all that overworked familiarity.

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The coming-out-of-retirement theme must have held a special attraction for director Chuck Russell, who last stepped behind the cameras for 2002’s “The Scorpion King,” but, like his leads, efficiently makes the best of things with a compliant, it-is-what-it-is awareness.

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‘I Am Wrath’

MPAA rating: R for violence and some language.

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Running time: 1 hour, 32 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Playhouse 7, Pasadena; also on VOD


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