Wild Card

Director: Simon West

Cast: Jason Statham, Milo Ventimiglia, Stanley Tucci, Michael Angarano, Sofia Vergara, Hope Davis, Anne Heche

Certificate: 15

Running Time: 92 minutes

Synopsis: Nick Wild (Statham) runs a private security business in Las Vegas, and he has a gambling problem. After crossing paths with a woman from his past he finds himself caught up with one of the local gangsters Danny DeMarco (Ventimiglia), and has one night to make it out of Vegas. 

Those who have seen the trailer will be expecting WILD CARD to be yet another Jason Statham action film, full of explosive fight sequences and witty put-downs. Sadly all of the expected action is only what is glimpsed during the trailer, with the film more of a drama than all-out action movie.

That in itself wouldn’t be too bad were it not for the film’s distinct lack of direction. The opening sequence, which sees Wild help a mate impress his girlfriend, is over-long and has no bearing on anything that happens afterwards. Then we get introduced to Cyrus Kinnick (Angarano) who needs someone to show him Vegas. He is then quickly forgotten about until the last third when his character is given a rather weak, outlandish and rushed back story. Next we meet Holly, Wild’s ex, who needs his help to exact revenge on a psychopath who both raped and brutalised her in some particularly horrendous ways.

It is during these scenes that the story seems to find a purpose – Wild searching for information about the small time crook and eventually helping his ex with her mission. Ventimiglia is great as villain DeMarco, even if his name makes him sound like and Eastenders character. The scene in which Holly extracts her bloody vengeance on the men who have wronged her is potentially the best in the entire 92 minute run time. It is full of tension and torment; the male portion of the viewing audience will find themselves squirming in their seat and crossing their legs. Once it is all over, and Holly and Wild part ways, the film tumbles back down into a muddled mess. We do however finally get the fight promised in the trailer with it all shoe-horned into the last twenty minutes.

As is to be expected from the man behind CON AIR and THE EXPENDABLES 2 the action sequences are great. Statham is a dab hand at killing bad guys, and in WILD CARD he wipes out an entire casino full of them. The final climatic battle sees him take down a small army with just a spoon and a fish knife (and I don’t mean the sharp type you use for gutting), why a downtrodden diner gives patrons a posh fish knife I don’t know, but Nick Wild shows just how deadly they can be.

One positive is that WILD CARD does showcase the bleakness of a gambling addiction; Wild’s seemingly crazy decision to keep on playing when he has amassed a small fortune is a true reflection of those afflicted with the addiction. Other than that it doesn’t really do anything to enrich cinematic themes.

A rare action fail for Statham, WILD CARD will leave you wishing you’d stopped viewing after the trailer.

[usr=2] WILD CARD is released in cinemas from Friday 20th March.