Wild Card Blu-ray review
Nick Wild sits at the bar, drooping his head over a glass of whiskey. He’s surrounded by slot machines, but he won’t play them. He’d rather keep an eye on the sexy woman being hit on by the scumbag in a booth. When he gets himself beat up by the scumbag, he goes back into the bar and puts a quarter in the jukebox so he can hear “Blue Christmas.” There are worse ways to make $500 in Las Vegas.
Nick (Jason Statham, in the first of three movies slated for 2015, preceding FURIOUS 7 and SPY) has taken on a different life since he quit gambling. He’s turned to doing odd jobs here and there to pull in money. One afternoon, he’s approached by a man named Cyrus (Michel Angarano, 2013’s EMPIRE STATE), who wants someone to look after him while he’s in town. Soon after that, he’s alerted by his friend Holly (Dominik Garcia-Lorido, Starz’s MAGIC CITY) that she was beaten and raped the night before.
Nick tracks down the guilty party, gangster Danny DeMarco (Milo Ventimiglia, the Grace Kelly biopic GRACE OF MONACO), the kind of guy who holes himself up in a penthouse suite and hires two strippers to tend to the pole in the center of the room. It’s after he serves up the appropriate amount of bruisings that things get even busier for Nick.
Bang, boom and ouch. The purpose of WILD CARD isn’t to provide an intriguing story or interesting characters, but rather to showcase Jason Statham doing exactly what Jason Staham does. In other words, the movie is made exclusively for Statham fans and other like-minded moviegoers who don’t want the hero to go outside of his comfort zone of moving in slow-motion (at this rate, it’ll take a week to walk from Caesars Palace to Golden Nugget), spewing faux-witty lines and whooping butt (with fists, headbutts, death grips).
It’s a bit unfair to fault the movie for giving what fans expect it to. But there is a limit to what can be accepted, and most of WILD CARD is just plain dumb and lazy. Its idea of smart is naming the character Wild—get it? as in wild card? as in the title of the movie? as in gambling? as in Las Vegas?
The name Simon West (who previously directed Statham in 2011’s THE MECHANIC and 2012’s THE EXPENDABLES 2) might also work to draw in a certain crowd, but even he does little to make WILD CARD stand out, and so it marks itself as yet another hollow, generic actioner. On the more embarrassing side, screenwriting credits go to William Goldman, who wrote the source novel and its first adaptation, 1986’s HEAT, with Burt Reynolds—not to mention cinema classics like ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID and MARATHON MAN.
The supporting cast includes Stanley Tucci as an unintimidating tough, Hope Davis as a card dealer, Jason Alexander as a guy named Pinky and Sofia Vergara as a woman with large breasts.
Video: 2.40:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. Details are strong throughout and colors come through nicely, especially those meant to capture the glitz of Las Vegas (although these are admittedly few, since the movie is more geared to the underbelly).
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Subtitles in English and Spanish. Dialogue is clean, while the music and sound effects heighten the fight scenes.
Director Commentary: Director Simon West offers a decent track in which he reflects on the production and offers various tidbits.
Script Vignette (5:17): Simon West, as well as cast members Michael Angarano, Hope Davis and more discuss the movie’s origins and plot. Clips are included.
Original Sin: Las Vegas and the Characters of WILD CARD (16:26): This featurette looks at several of the characters and what role Las Vegas plays in the story.