Wild Card (Simon West, 2015)

A self-updated remake from scribe William Goldman, Wild Card employs Sir Statham’s one-track skill set to partially elevate the proceedings above a skepticism-inducing DTV debut. With a penchant for lethality and an obvious gambling problem, Nick Wild (Jason Statham) is a bodyguard-for-hire in Vegas whose past demons and former flame upend his already less-than-cushy lifestyle. As time wears on, Nick simultaneously struggles to shake bad habits and a pack of vengefully wily mobsters.

For all of the vulgar auteurism bullshit one could toss into the apologists’ critical mix, Wild Card is still largely a lifeless misfire. Painting Statham’s flaccidly named protagonist as an equally unremarkable wise-ass, wit is present enough but can’t compensate for a lack of personality to compliment Mr. Wild’s intermittent spunk. A palpable visceral flair functions to break up monotony – of which peaks during a nigh-excruciating, slummy casino-set run-through of compulsive gambling tropes – however West’s presentational abilities are vastly outgunned amid rote “one last job” nonsense.

Let it be known that I’m not trying to downplay the deadly has-been derelict with a heart of gold archetype as Statham is, above all, up to the task despite his own ignorance regarding repeated typecasting. Supporting characters are entirely thankless barring the basal conflict they present, and to be perfectly honest, Nick Wild’s familiar tale isn’t one worth retelling. Even though it boasts the most creative (I mean fatal) implementation of kitchen utensils you’ll see, the film’s bland focus doesn’t mesh with what it sparsely does and does best.


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