Based on William Goldman’s 1985 novel Heat that was then filmed with Burt Reynolds in the lead (1986 film Heat), the new version Wild Card is a big disappointment considering it is an action thriller. Action star Jason Statham reprises the role played by Reynolds but ends up over-playing with less action but more dialogues in a complex character.
Directed by Simon West, Wild Card follows Nick Wild, a recovering gambling addict, who now works as a private security consultant but still stuck in the gambling world Las Vegas. Nick is the man who it seems known to everyone, from cafe waitresses, poker dealers to underworld mafias. Everyone knows what he is capable of and audience, too, expects the same high feisty blows, but it takes long to build the stage for any genuine action sequence.
Coming to the story of the film, there is no background story of Nick when we get introduced with a self-made millionaire Cyrus (played by Michael Angarano) who asks Nick to provide him security cover inside casinos in Las Vegas, while he gambles. In the next frame, we see the Las Vegas bodyguard reaches to the call of a friend Holly who explains to Nick that she had a date in a hotel the previous night after which she was violently raped and tortured by three guys.
On the job, Nick reaches to the offender DeMarco and his two bodyguards in a fierce fight inside the hotel room. Nick helps Holly taking her revenge along with $50,000 from the desk of DeMarco, who happens to be a gangster in the city. The story takes a turn when Holly shares half of the money with Nick but only to drive him back to his old habit inside casinos.
While the film sets the tone for a decent action flick with a comic like scenario in the beginning when the character of Jason Statham gets bitten up by an average man, the film in the middle loses track in developing its principal character rather making it afloat with a great supporting cast. The best part of me in the film is probably the last few minutes when Stanley Tucci enters as a Las Vegas mobster named Baby; he is amazingly good in just few frames.
Nevertheless, if you’re a great fan of action films I must say there is not much in Wild Card, but if you want to watch just any action movie starring Statham then give it a try. At least, you might like this multi-faceted complex character of Nick who is always confident enough not to use a gun, not even in a terrible fight, while he still uses pay phones.
Starring: Jason Statham, Michael Angarano, Dominik Garcia-Lorido, Hope Davis, Milo Ventimiglia, Max Casella, Stanley Tucci, Jason Alexander, Sofia Vergara, Anne Heche
Directed by: Simon West
Screenplay by: William Goldman (original novel Heat)
Released on demand: January 30, 2015
You may download this movie on iTunes.