Jason Statham kicks, headbutts and punches his way through even more bad guys!
by Nav Qateel
This is the third film that Simon West has directed action star Jason Statham, one of them being the excellent The Mechanic. However, where The Mechanic was tense and exciting throughout, Wild Card limped it’s way to an explosive few minutes at the end.
Based on William Goldman’s novel and screenplay, Wild Card tells the story of compulsive gambler and security expert Nick Wild. Nick daydreams of making $500 thousand, moving to Corsica and buying a boat. But he’s trapped in Las Vegas thanks to his gambling addiction. When an old flame turned call girl is badly beaten and sexually assaulted in an unusual manner, Nick is persuaded to help her get revenge. However, this involves going after the son of a Mafia boss.
It sounds like your typical action-packed Jason Statham ass-kicker, right? It’s also penned by Marathon Man writer William Goldman. What could go wrong? Plenty, unfortunately. West’s direction was just fine, and the performances were what you’d expect from a film of this nature. But the focus and pacing were all poor.
Rather than concentrate on the action, which, let’s face it, is what most of us watch a Jason Statham flick for, we had to suffer through many patches of bland scenes, some involving Michael Angarano’s character Cyrus Kinnick or the setup to establish future action shots with Milo Ventimiglia’s character, Danny DeMarco.
The supporting cast are all decent actors and I’m always singing Milo Ventimiglia’s praises. Here, Ventimiglia didn’t feel right as the bad guy, and I’m not sure if it was just down to the casting not being right, but it just didn’t work. Angarano’s whole arc felt almost superfluous, even though he would ultimately be necessary. Statham was as steady as a rock, and it was great seeing the brilliant Stanley Tucci play casino owner Baby. It’s only one scene near the end, but once Baby appears the film finally picks up the pace.
Although Wild Card is certainly watchable, and occasionally enjoyable, one can’t help wish that the filmmakers had concentrated more on the action and less on Nick’s hopes, dreams and disasters.
One for die-hard Statham fans only methinks.