Review: Wild Card
Around halfway through Wild Card, a Jason Statham-led action remake of an 80s Burt Reynolds escapade (Heat, but not that Heat), and after some bits of unnecessary violence and villain-building, it becomes painfully clear there isn’t really a point here.
Certainly, you can’t expect too much depth from a Vegas-set tale about a hard-luck freelance consultant named Nick Wild, a man whose consulting practices are basically him playing bodyguard and occasionally beating people up. Though sometimes it means him helping a weaselly acquaintance look tough in front of an attractive women (meant to be funny, but just uncomfortable) and sometimes it means seeking revenge for a female associate who was beaten up and raped (meant to be provocative, really just uncomfortable and unnecessary).
Sometimes too, his consultation involves showing a young peevish man around the casino floor, offering banal conversation and companionship.
Mainly though, it’s about Wild’s torrid love-hate relationship with Vegas, which involves reckless gambling and random bloody fights. It’s unfortunate; Statham’s charisma and welcome anti-hero attitude are wasted in this meandering, snapshot of a life. It summons from nowhere emotion and purpose, both of which instantly fall flat making for a mindless and meek action film that doesn’t have nearly enough action.
Sofia Vergara, Jason Alexander, Anne Heche, Hope Davis, and even Stanley Tucci show up, and none of them can lift a film made by Simon West, who previously has made some very self-aware and guiltily satisfying entertainment with Con Air and The Expendables 2.
But Wild Card runs too serious for its own good, from the aforementioned violence against a woman, which again, is so egregiously gratuitous and misguided, to slow-motion action sequences and a scene where Card’s gambling love becomes out of control. We’re pulling here ftom different genres, different ideas, with a bunch of moving components, including a violent Vegas kingpin who’s out to get Card.
Thus it winds up in forgettable territory, neither dramatic nor entertaining enough to compel anyone to feel anything except the desire to get up and leave the theatre.