Saturday, March 14, 2015

Review of WILD CARD: A Stretch for Statham

March 14, 2015

Jason Statham is the only active movie star these days who ONLY does action films and nothing else. Whenever we watch a Jason Statham movie, we only expect to sit back and be regaled with his martial arts skills. We certainly do not expect any deep story or insightful conversations, just raw and bone-crunching action.

"Wild Card" is set in Las Vegas. Jason Statham plays Nick Wild, a jaded bodyguard who has a gambling addiction problem. The whole film is just a series of encounters of Nick with various Vegas characters about a variety of random topics. These anecdotal scenes were tenuously connected together by a thin story about Nick helping a prostitute Holly avenge the sadistic assault she suffered under the hands of gangster Danny DeMarco. 

There are still those awesome fight scenes we all want to see. There are some pretty interesting fights where Jason uses unlikely everyday objects from a spoon to a credit card to inflict considerable bodily harm on his enemy. The choreography and execution of these fights were breathtaking. We can feel the impact of every punch and wince with every bloody stab we see. 

I felt there were fewer of these fight scenes though. Statham got to do more dramatic acting here. The script after all was by no less than William Goldman (Oscar Award winning screenwriter in the 1970s for "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and "All the President's Men") adapted from his own novel. Several name character actors make short appearances to interact with our hero, like Stanley Tucci, Jason Alexander, Anne Heche, Sofia Vergara and Michael Angarano. There were a lot of blackjack scenes, which in fairness, were quite exciting. It was actually good to see Statham attempting to add some more depth and variety in his acting range.

However, since we do look for more violent fight scenes in Statham films, "Wild Card" may disappoint hardcore action film fans who may not have patience to sit through some of these serious talky scenes. Jason Statham is not exactly Liam Neeson or Sean Penn yet at this point in his career to credibly pull off the drama. 5/10.  

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