Wild Card

January 30th, 2015


Wild Card

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When a Las Vegas bodyguard with lethal skills and a gambling problem gets in trouble with the mob, he has one last play...and it's all or nothing.

Release Year: 2015

Rating: 6.8/10 (577 voted)

Critic's Score: 39/100

Director: Simon West

Stars: Jason Statham, Michael Angarano, Dominik García-Lorido

Nick Wild (Jason Statham) is a Las Vegas bodyguard with lethal professional skills and a personal gambling problem. When a friend is beaten by a sadistic thug, Nick strikes back, only to find out the thug is the son of a powerful mob boss. Suddenly Nick is plunged into the criminal underworld, chased by enforcers and wanted by the mob. Having raised the stakes, Nick has one last play to change his fortunes...and this time, it's all or nothing. From two-time Academy® Award-winning writer William Goldman (Best Original Screenplay, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969; Best Adapted Screenplay, All the President's Men, 1976).

Writers: William Goldman, William Goldman

Jason Statham - Nick Wild
Michael Angarano - Cyrus Kinnick
Dominik García-Lorido - Holly
Hope Davis - Cassandra
Milo Ventimiglia - Danny DeMarco
Max Casella - Osgood
Stanley Tucci - Baby
Jason Alexander - Pinky
Sofía Vergara - DD
Anne Heche - Roxy
François Vincentelli - Benny
Chris Browning - Tiel
Matthew Willig - Kinlaw
Davenia McFadden - Millicent
Michael Papajohn - Pit Boss

Taglines: Never bet against a man with a killer hand


Official Website: Official site [Japan]

Country: USA

Language: English

Release Date: 3 Jan 2015

Filming Locations: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $30,000,000 (estimated)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

This is a remake of the Burt Reynolds crime drama film Heat (1986). See more »

User Review


Rating: 4/10

Jason Statham movies come with certain, modest expectations. "Wild Card," in which Jason Statham plays a character named Nick Wild, only adds to those expectations. And so, it's a bit baffling that this second attempt (the first is a mostly forgotten 1986 Burt Reynolds vehicle) at bringing William Goldman's novel "Heat" to the big screen — adapted by the legendary screenwriter himself — seems uncertain what to do with the star, or the material. Trying to find a middle ground between an action packed Statham vehicle, a '70s style mood piece, and a '90s era character-actor packed crime tale, "Wild Card" is not surprisingly an unsuccessful marriage of those ill-fitting genres that strains to fill the already meagre, barely ninety minute run time with anything of substance.

"...do not waste the audience's time. Bring the Inciting Incident into the story as soon as possible," screen writing guru Robert McKee told Storylink in 2009, and he would certainly disapprove of how long things take to get rolling in "Wild Card." After a mostly unnecessary opening sequence which serves little purpose except to show off Sofia Vergara in a very form fitting sweater, the film unhurriedly establishes that Nick Wild is one of those Las Vegas guys who drifted into town and never left, knows everybody, but is going nowhere. He works as a security consultant for lawyer Pinky Zion (Jason Alexander), and while he has some casual acquaintances — the closest being diner waitress Roxy (Anne Heche) — he mostly keeps everyone at a distance, and harbors idle drams of leaving Nevada and sailing in Corsica. But two people enter his life and shake things. The first is Cyrus (Michael Angarano), a quiet, verbose, and wealthy young man who hires Nick to show him around town and double as his bodyguard. The other is Nick's friend, Holly (Dominik García-Lorido), who has a far more important request — find the men who raped and beat her, "soften them up," and then lead her to them so she can exact revenge.

As the nifty "The Bank Job" proved, Statham is capable of working in a much more dialed-down mode when required, but he's not an actor who can elevate material. It needs to be there on the page first, and it's just not there in Goldman's script. What's more frustrating is to see the array of talent (which also includes Stanley Tucci, Hope Davis, and Max Casella), most of whom show up for one or two scenes and exit the movie, so thoroughly wasted, particularly when the characters are this promising. "Wild Card," mostly taking place in second-rate casinos and in establishments far off the main strip of Las Vegas, creates a great world for this film, but forgets to deliver a story worth telling, or even attempts to give any meaning or weight to certain creative decisions, like setting the film around Christmas, another tired genre trope trotted out for no significant purpose. Should someone even dare a third attempt with this material, I'd advise taking it to television, ditching Goldman's script, keeping the characters, and turn it into an old-school flavored weekly procedural, with Nick tackling a fresh assignment each week. "Wild Card" certainly didn't need to reinvent the wheel, but the film doesn't even bring a full deck of cards to play with.

Even if the content of "Wild Card" leaves much to be desired, visually the film is at least a bit more inspired. Cinematographer Shelly Johnson ("Captain America: The First Avenger," "The Expendables 2") avoids the usually glossy depictions of Las Vegas, and opts for a look that captures the grimier feeling of the off-the-beaten-path corners of the hedonist mecca, with the daytime exteriors sun baked and desaturated, and the interiors feeling palpably like the kind of places that are cleaned once a week instead once a day. But it's still not enough to hide the fact that "Wild Card" doesn't even have enough chips to play at the lowest stakes table.


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