Friday, April 8, 2016

Film Review: Wild Card (2015)

Wild Card (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...the film feels like a jigsaw with pieces jammed into it from other puzzles."

Nick Wild (Jason Statham) takes jobs as a chaperone/security guard in Vegas, living his dreadful life day-by-day. One day, he receives a request from Holly (Dominik Garcia-Lorido), who seeks vengeance...

Wild Card follows Nick Wild on his adventures across Vegas – this meaning the film never really focuses on any particular plot point. So, Nick is called to Holly's home for a discussion. Nick finds Holly has been sexually assaulted and beaten. He's reluctant to aid, but Holly guilts him into helping. He tracks Holly's attackers to a 'Danny DeMarco.' Although Holly planned on castrating the man, she's more than content with stealing his money and leaving town, which leaves Nick in a sticky situation – stay, gamble, hope to win, then escape to his dream life. At this point, it becomes more of a typical gambling film while occasionally glancing back at the original plot. Like the rest, the final fight scene is fantastic. The ending is decent, too.

Wild Card isn't a bad film. It's more of a disappointing movie – which can be just as bad for some people. My main gripe with the film is the lack of focus and character development. Don't get me wrong, Nick Young is an interesting character, it's everyone else we're supposed to care about that is thin. Holly? We barely know her. Cyrus? I haven't even mentioned him in this review. The film wants to be a gritty crime thriller, then it wants to be a poignant drama about gambling, then it wants to be a silly crime thriller. The main character is strong and intriguing, the crime elements are dark and engaging, the action scenes are fantastic... Yet, the film feels like a jigsaw with pieces jammed into it from other puzzles. Not bad, just very disappointing.

Jason Statham plays Jason Statham. How many times am I going to say that? Well, I'll probably stop when Jason Statham plays someone other than Jason Statham. Anyway, if you like Statham, he's great in this film. Brooding and nimble, great stuff. Dominik Garcia-Lorido seems like a fine actress, but she didn't feel right for this role. I felt like she didn't hit the right notes for her character. The film otherwise looks and sounds great. I especially enjoyed the soundtrack and the music editing – right on queue. The film is written by William Goldman, based off his novel, and directed by Simon West. I'm sure this is a great book, at least since the content seems very interesting, but it doesn't fit well in the traditional movie format – it feels like essential pieces were cut and replaced with inessential scenes. West fares better in his direction, crafting a stylish, seamless thriller.

Overall, Wild Card is a good movie. It does more good than bad, at least. The writing could use some work, but the direction is great. The action scenes, albeit limited, are fantastic. The main character is strong (and a bit cliché) while the rest of the cast are cardboard cutouts. It's a hit-or-miss film. For me, it was more disappointing than anything. With some fine-tuning, this could have been great. For now, it's worth a rental at the very least.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, some reference to a sexual assault.

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