Jason Statham has been stuck in the quicksand of typecasting for so long that by now it is fairly easy to guess what his new movies will be like. Sadly, his latest release, Wild Card, does nothing to alter this impression.
The crime drama finds Statham playing the role of Nick Wild, a muscle for hire who takes odd jobs, such as accompanying people who need protection and assisting those who simply want to impress a woman. But when his friend Holly (Dominik Garcia-Lorido) asks for his help to take down a vicious gangster named Danny DeMarco (Milo Ventimiglia) who assaulted her, Nick finds himself in dangerous territory. Holly’s quest to get revenge could prove deadly for everyone involved.
It’s hard to believe that the screenplay was penned by William Goldman, the celebrated writer who has given us classics like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), All the President’s Men (1976) and The Princess Bride (1987) during his illustrious career. Wild Card — based on Goldman’s 1985 novel Heat which was previously adapted into a film of the same name in 1986 — is a limp, unfocused outing that doesn’t seem sure of its own tone and finds itself wandering aimlessly, shuffling between dull drama and ludicrous action sans the requisite excitement.
Director Simon West has somehow managed to assemble an impressive supporting cast by getting Jason Alexander, Anne Heche, Hope Davis, Sofia Vergara and Stanley Tucci on the roster, but then promptly sidelined them all, limiting their participation to only a few lines of dialogue apiece. Meanwhile, Statham does his typical, stoic action hero schtick dutifully, but doesn’t quite embrace the film’s inherent silliness or succeed in making his character engaging.
Everyone involved in Wild Card is potentially better than this project. In this case, the whole is significantly less than the sum of its parts. The film seems content with stitching together a handful of clichés without bothering to be inventive and, as a result, ends up being stodgy and predictable. It neither succeeds in displaying dramatic depth nor working as an exciting action romp. Wild Card rambles on and lacks energy. Ultimately, it might please diehard Jason Statham fans, but the rest of the viewers are very likely to find it boring and forgettable.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, March 8th, 2015.
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