Title – Wild Card (2015)
Director – Simon West (The Expendables 2)
Cast – Jason Statham, Michael Angarano, Milo Ventimiglia, Anne Heche, Stanley Tucci, Jason Alexander, Sofia Vergara, Hope Davis
Plot – Las Vegas hard luck story and one man army Nick Wild (Statham) gets caught up in an ugly situation involving heavy hitting mobster Danny DeMarco (Ventimiglia) and an unfortunate gambling episode that sees him blow a chance of escaping the big city for good.
“I need $500,000 to buy me five years. Right now I’m only short $499,500”
Review by Eddie on 31/08/2015
For fans of the Stath’s famous butt kicking routines, Wild Card (a remake of an old Burt Reynolds flick) may come as a bit of a shock to the action loving system as while it features some pretty impressive moments of the bald brit taking it to the bad guys with all manner of implements (credit cards, poker chips, ash trays etc.), it’s a much more mellow and downtrodden affair than its synopsis suggests and also a wildly strange tale that acts as one of Statham’s more original yet not overly impressive movies in some time.
Based on William Goldman’s novel and written by the author, Simon “Con Air” West’s film is a mixture of dark humour, violent showdowns and a lesson in why one shouldn’t gamble and also a film that fails to nail down a centre point that could’ve allowed Wild Card to be a truly memorable excursion to Vegas. What West does well is the capturing of the lights and seedy underbelly of Vegas and setting the film near the Festive season gives the City of Sin a fresh spin that makes it stand out from the crowded marketplace of films set in the Nevada staple. The film also has a considerably strong start that makes one think where in for a one heck of an unpredictable journey only for much of the films good work to become undone in an overly complicated and unfulfilling middle act.
Statham’s Nick Wild is one of his typical tough guy characters, strapped with his usual satirical quips and mean looks and his at his most interesting in the films early stretches where we’re unsure of just who or what this man is or capable of. Once Wild, Vegas’s only personal security guard, meets with Milo Ventimiglia’s arrogant and vile mobster Danny DeMarco, Wild Card quickly loses steam and fails to capitalise on story strands such as Wild’s dealings with mysterious gambler Cyrus played by Michael Angarano and an interesting arc that involves long term acquaintance Holly played by Dominik Garcia-Lorido. It feels as though Wild Card could’ve been a longer movie, a strange thing to say in today’s climate of films outstaying there welcome, yet it feels like it’s a rushed story that had more to give to its audience and actors.
A whole lot more off kilter than I personally was expecting, Wild Card certainly isn’t your typical Statham tale yet it has many of the familiar elements that have now become a hallmark of his career. Much of Wild Card’s simple pleasures are courtesy of a thankfully intriguing first act and sparse fight scenes yet the film descends into something wholly forgettable in the later stages, which is a shame as there’s enough here to suggest that Wild Card was on a winning hand only to blow it all on a disappointingly low end safe bet.
2 and a half surprise pickles out of 5