My Take – The quality of Jason Statham films have been degrading over the years, with The Mechanic (2011) probably being the last film (starring him) I really enjoyed. With this film being his passion project for several years, Statham enlisted the very underrated director Simon West with whom he’d already collaborated on The Mechanic and The Expendables 2. The story starts with a last December timeline where Nick Wild (Statham) is drinking in a bar where he gets mixed up with Osgood (Casella) and his girl DD (Vergara). We see a girl beaten up and dumped outside a hospital and her only word is Nick after being asked who did it. Nick is a security consultant for attorney Pinky (Alexander). A young man Cyrus Kinnick (Angarano) wants to hire Nick to bodyguard him during a night in the casino. We see that the opening fight was just a play to make Osgood look good for the girl.
Holly (Garcia-Lorido) was the girl from the hospital and while released she turns out to be friends with Nick and calling out was for his help. She recounts that story of what happened with three guys raping and beating her up, Holly wants Nick to find the guys responsible so she can sue them. Nick has connection all over town apart from the hotel where the incident happened but he does find out who it was Danny DeMarco (Ventimiglia) but he is warned away. Nick takes Cyrus on the night around Las Vegas while being conflicted about what happened to Holly, leaving Cyrus in his low stakes gambling Nick goes to Holly and ends up getting involved with helping her get her revenge. Nick pays Danny a visit leaving all three of them laying giving Holly her chance at revenge. From its top notch cast to its look and pacing, the film looks like it wants to be a gritty drama, unfortunately it never quite reaches the heights of its ambitions, the film being unable to conjure up something special, unexpected, original enough to put it over the top. That is not to say it doesn’t deliver. Without saying much, the film draws you into this world easily and convincingly. The action scenes are definitely a lot of fun. It is cool to see Statham’s character use anything but a gun to fight his enemies. When he takes down half a dozen baddies with a spoon, I think he deserves to be called a bad ass. There were plenty of moments where I cringed at certain punches that looked awfully painful. So you feel the hits in each of the fights. As for the slower parts just the fact Statham is there helps a lot. If it weren’t for him the film would have been quite bland. The main issue of the movie is the flow of the story.
In the first 30mins you think you know where the plot is heading, but it seemingly resolves half way through. Then for a long while the story keeps meandering on Statham’s hopes and dreams of a different life. Again, as I mentioned before if it weren’t for Statham’s star charm you would have been falling asleep during this part. Only at the last 15mins or so do we circle back to the main plot. Sure we aren’t watching this film for the story, but it should be sufficient enough to keep everyone interested. In this case that’s only achieved partly. The acting is very strong and the characters pretty appealing. Jason does what he does best, acting moody and kicking ass. Michael Angarano does a solid job but his character seems to get buried in all the action. Milo Ventimiglia excels! The film has plenty of supporting characters who mostly only appear in cameo like performance from the better known stars, Stanley Tucci, Sofa Vergara to mention a couple. On the whole, director Simon West has done a solid job, in making ‘Wild Card’ a decent film. If you like action films, there is some fun to be had here. It is way better than the recent Tak3n for sure. However, if you are looking for a storyline, look somewhere else!
Director – Simon West
Rated – R
Run Time – 92 minutes