film review

Review | Wild Card – 2015

Nick is a compulsive blackjack player that handles a variety of chores for lawyer Pinky. These chores include accompany people from casino to casino and pretend to be their bodyguard. He also lets himself get beaten up occasionally by men who want to impress their girlfriend. Because of these jobs Nick has built up quite a network and when his good friend Holly is assaulted very badly, she turns to Nick for his help. When Nick decides to help Holly and find out who’s responsible, he becomes entangled with the Mafia and he must go ‘All in’. In the meantime Nick is hired by the rich Cyrus Kinnick, who wants him to show him the casinos of Las Vegas.

Jason Statham, who plays the lead part in this film, is mainly known for his many action films and the amount of stunts he performs in his films. Since Statham has a background in the world of Mixed Martial Arts and Kickboxing, he can manage the many fighting scenes pretty well. A film with this action hero in the lead role, often promises much spectacle. When you realize that Wild Card is directed by Simon West, known for The Expendables 2, Con Air and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, it looks like you have a good action film. In supporting roles, we see Stanley Tucci and Michael Angarano who both provide some interesting moments. Modern Family star Sofía Vergara also has a – small – part in the film. However, Jason Statham is the absolute star of the film!Wild-Card-Movie-4

Wild Card is an action film, but unfortunately we don’t get the action we might have hoped for. There are a few good fighting scenes which were very nice imaged, with slow motion and all, but don’t count on dangerous car chases or explosions. Unfortunately, those good fighting scenes doesn’t help conceal that the story feels disjointed at some points. This is mainly due to the unclear storyline and the characters are a bit flat. The film already begins with a scene that isn’t very clearly and you have questions for too long. Eventually you’ll understand, but the uncertainty lasts a bit too long. Because of the work Nick does he has a big network and knows many people in the casinos or the restaurants he visits often. When Nick’s good friend Holly is brutally raped, she asks Nick with his large network for help in her plan for revenge. This clearly puts him ina difficult position. Of course he wants to help Holly, but on the other hand he doesn’t need the mob after him. Nevertheless Nick decides to help Holly with her plan which provides some spectacular fighting scenes.

We’re almost halfway through the film when we finally see something about Nick’s gambling problem, which is in every description of the film. You would almost doubt he even has a problem, but after his little incident with the mafia it becomes very clear. In order to leave town, Nick decides to make money very quickly by playing Blackjack the whole night long. It is of course very predictable that the outcome is quite different than Nick had hoped. This part of the film takes so long that it almost seems like the mafia doesn’t has the need to come after Nick at all. A problem in this film is that the scenes and storylines don’t follow each other nicely. Holly’s storyline is so short and some are way too long, but what happened to Holly is the start of everything. The filmmakers should have focussed more on the situation Nick is in after the assault of Holly, what ultimately ends in a fight against the Mafia. It is clear the fighting scenes between Nick and his attackers are the best things ofthe entire film.Naturally, the big names are always topping the casting list and well marked on the DVD covers. It is a huge disappointment when you find out that one of those bignames has such a small role in the film. Stanley Tucci plays Baby, who is the boss of the mob and has no real problems with Nick as long as he stays out of his hotel. In the one scene he’s in, we see how Baby asks Nick to justify himself. Nick is clearly on good terms with Baby, which is a bit of an anticlimax. The ‘villain’ of the film is someone who is less important than Baby, but has a very bad temper and is the one with issues against Nick. Another big name who has a minuscule role is Sofía Vergara, but her role is a bit meaningless and doesn’t have any impact on the course of the story. It is more to clarify Nick’s character. The story between Nick and his client Cyrus Kinnick, is one you can put a question mark on. Cyrus hires Nick to show him the casinos and be his bodyguard. However, the real reason is to overcome some anxiety. But because of Nick’s own problems, this story is really overshadowed. Eventually, Cyrus is Nick’s savior which makes the character of Michael Angarano a little more interesting.

Wild Card is certainly not a great film and the best parts are the fighting scenes of Jason Statham’s character, which are shown very well. The story is sometimes too incoherent because the wrong scenes are too long compared to the scenes which could make the film more interesting. The logic of the presence of a single character is rather vague and most of the characters are a little too flat. However, the film is definitely entertaining and a true recommendation for the fans of Jason Statham. If only because Statham – with his skills – knows how to make a good fighting scene.


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