A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
There's a scene in a 1968 movie called "Five Card Stud" where Robert Mitchum plays a preacher with a gun hidden in his Bible. Dean Martin, who is the local terrorist, notices that Mitch has the Bible upside down. "If that IS a Bible," he says, "read it. If that ain't a Bible, drop it."
Well, you can't win 'em all. But you can come better prepared the next time, which is what Mitchum does in "The Wrath of God." This time, he's a priest with a gun concealed inside his Bible. And when the bad guys make him drop the Bible, he falls back on his reserves: a switchblade in his cross. He is no ordinary priest.
It's hard to say exactly what he is, in fact. There are a lot of things hard to figure out about "The Wrath of God." For example, where is it set? South of Mexico in the first decades of this century is a good guess. Also, why is Mitchum carrying a sub-machine gun and $58,000 in various currencies in his valise? How did everyone in this mysterious nation learn to speak English? Questions like that. There's even an Indian girl who has not spoken a word for 20 years, ever since she saw her parents murdered. When she finally does speak, it's English, which leads you to wonder whether she just kept quiet because no one would have understood her anyway.
One of the small wonderments of "The Wrath of God" is that none of these problems seem to handicap the movie very much. This is the kind of movie we don't see very often anymore: a simple, dashing tale told for sheer fun. Although it's not as good as "Beat the Devil," it has some of the same feeling that nothing matters much except keeping everyone interested.