Wild Card (2015)

Wild Card (2015)
  • Time: 92 min
  • Genre: Action | Crime | Drama
  • Director: Simon West
  • Cast: Jason Statham, Stanley Tucci, Sofía Vergara, Michael Angarano, Dominik García-Lorido, Milo Ventimiglia


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.


  • I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw a great action movie. Long gone are the days when films like Speed, Die Hard, The Rock or True Lies were made. The problem with action movies these days is that they use the same formula way too often, most fail to be innovative. Speed is the perfect example of an action movie that has both a great story and is extremely entertaining. Wild Card is the latest action movie I happened to see.

    A remake of 1986’s Heat, Wild Card follows the story of a Las Vegas bodyguard with lethal skills and a gambling problem who gets into trouble with the mob and is cornered into one final play…all or nothing. Directed by: Simon West (Con Air, Expendables 2) and starring: Jason Statham, Michael Angarano, Milo Ventimiglia, Dominik García-Lorido, Jason Alexander, Sofia Vergara and Stanley Tucci, Wild Card is an abysmal and incompetent film that fails to exist even as a good popcorn movie. You have Jason Statham playing a character he has played so many times before, phoning in a performance he has given so many times before. Even though the cast features some talented actors like Stanley Tucci, Sofia Vergara, Milo Ventimiglia, Jason Alexander they are barely used for more than one scene.

    The biggest disappointment is perhaps the film’s lackluster and bland script and what’s even disappointing is the fact that it’s written by two time Academy-Award winning veteran screen-writer William Goldman, the same man behind countless classics like; Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President’s Men, Marathon Man. The script lacks proper structure and suffers from inconsistent writing. The plot is formulaic and the story is uninspired. It feels like every other Las Vegas movie ever made, only worse. If it was the slightest bit entertaining some of the movie’s flaws could have been forgiven. alas, this is not the case and Wild Card happens do be tedious and dull movie as well. It seems like Lionsgate didn’t have a lot of faith in the film either releasing it on VOD on the same day it was released in theaters.

    In conclusion, Wild Card is a vapid and boring movie that offers nothing new to the action genre and suffers from a seriously badly written script. Jason Statham fans may find the movie somewhat enjoyable but others need not bother.

    Final Score: 2.6/10

    -Khalid Rafi

  • Nick Wild (Jason Statham) has a dream: to make $500K and sail off into the Mediterranean sunset. It may be a loser’s dream, what with him working odd jobs as a security consultant in Sin City and only too willing to let the blackjack tables fleece him out of whatever money he does have.

    Nick’s a stand-up guy though, the type who’ll play patsy for a strength-challenged friend so he can impress his hotsy-totsy gal (Sofia Vergara). So when Holly (Dominik García-Lorido) finds herself on the receiving end of a brutal beatdown and dumped from a limo in front of the hospital, she knows exactly who to call to help her get her revenge. Except Nick isn’t too keen on tracking down her attacker, especially when he finds out that he’s staying at the Golden Nugget. The Golden Nugget is owned by Baby (a deliciously amusing Stanley Tucci), who’s a very big deal in this mob-owned town; he tried recruiting Nick back in the day but Nick refused, and the two have maintained a friendly but distant relationship.

    Click here for the complete review

  • Quickie Review:

    When Nick Wild (Jason Statham), a bodyguard for hire in Las Vegas gets into trouble with the mob he must risk it all to finally have the life he dreams of. Wild Card is the typical Jason Statham movie, depending on the person that could be either a good or a bad thing. So if you have seen any of his past action flicks, you know what to expect. This movie does have plenty of action packed fights but it is also bogged down by unnecessarily dragging out the main plot. It may not be the most memorable Statham movie, but it is satisfying enough because of the action and Statham himself.

    Full Review:

    Going into watch Wild Card was one of the rare cases where I had no idea what the movie was about. Never did I see a trailer or read the synopsis. I went in trusting in Jason Statham just hoping to watch some good fights. I think that will be the appeal for many others who watch this movie.

    First off the action scenes are definitely a lot of fun. It is cool to see Statham’s character use anything but a gun to fight his enemies. When he takes down half a dozen baddies with a spoon, I think he deserves to be called a badass. There were plenty of moments where I cringed at certain punches that looked awfully painful. So you feel the hits in each of the fights. As for the slower parts just the fact Statham is there helps a lot. If it weren’t for him the film would have been quite bland.

    The main issue of the movie is the flow of the story. In the first 30mins you think you know where the plot is heading, but it seemingly resolves half way through. Then for a long while the story keeps meandering on Statham’s hopes and dreams of a different life. Again, as I mentioned before if it weren’t for Statham’s star charm you would have been falling asleep during this part. Only at the last 15mins or so do we circle back to the main plot. Sure we aren’t watching Wild Card for the story, but it should be sufficient enough to keep everyone interested. In this case that’s only achieved partly.

    All in all, Wild Card is a decent film. If you like action films, there is some fun to be had here. It is way better than the recent Tak3n for sure. However, if you require more meat to the story then you will leave with more complains than praise.

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  • Before I get started I want to point out that I’m a huge fan of Jason Statham and the typical action type film that he puts out, looking at the trailer I thought this was it.

    The movie seems confused as to what style it wants to portray, at first it seems like it’s going to be all action then it flips to all drama and character development and then back and forth again. The issue both aspects come up lackluster. The film seems to jump from one section to the next without much connecting the two points aside from a minor overarching issue. This is the main problem I have with the film. Everything fits together but it does so loosely it has no impact.

    The dialogue falls flat and makes the acting seem worse, especially for Garcia-Lorido’s character. That being said the actors do well with what they are given.

    All in all this is played up like an action film, delivered halfheartedly as a drama and barely worth watching unless you have nothing being to do and admire Jason Statham.

  • Towards the last half of 2015’s Wild Card (my latest review), Jason Statham’s character wins $500,000 playing blackjack at a random Las Vegas casino. I’m not a card player but I’ve consulted with someone who’s dabbled in the sort. From what I’ve gathered, there’s no way a pit boss would ever allow someone to rack up that much money without having them thrown out (or at least investigated). I mean doesn’t the house usually win at thousand dollar tables? And isn’t counting cards suppose to be illegal? Ah, it is a movie of course and a bitter plot attempt to let a muddled hero walk off into the sunset. To borrow from a British term (Statham’s a Brit), this is slight rubbish I tell you.

    Anyway, if you take away The Italian Job, The Expendables, and the new Fast and the Furious installment, Jason Statham hasn’t really set the world on fire as a box office juggernaut. And remember, he didn’t star in the films just mentioned, he was just a supporting member of the cast. When he’s in the lead role, it’s either direct-to-video time or his cinematic redundancies barely breaking even. Listen, the guy’s not that bad of an actor and he’s pretty solid in many a fight scene. It’s just that he lacks the charisma of a Liam Neeson, or a Pierce Brosnan, or a Harrison Ford, or whatever. His arrogance besets him not to mention the fact that he’s also a little bland. And no matter how many necks he breaks or how many bone crunches he causes, it’s just hard to root for the guy, plain and simple.

    Take his latest movie for instance, the uneven, messy Wild Card. Watching it, you get all kinds of different tones. This thing could be about gambling. It could be a mentoring movie. Heck, it might even be an action blowout. Who knows for sure. There are three blood-drenched fight scenes that you wait for between moments of overacting, talkiness, and incoherency. The plot for what it’s worth, has Statham playing Nick Escalante. You don’t know exactly what he does for a living. I mean, he claims early on that he’s not an attorney or a private investigator. My reasoning is that he’s one bad dude who helps out people in need. Two examples of this would be his catering to a woman who gets beaten up and raped within an inch of her life. Another instance involves him protecting an out-of-town schlep (young millionaire) as he gambles and takes in the Sin City scenery (for the first time). Throughout the proceedings, it’s evident that Nick is keeping busy but he obviously doesn’t like Vegas. He wants to get out but needs money, a boatload of it. That’s the gist of “Card”. It could possibly register as another flick announcing Statham taking on the title of Steven Seagal, Jr. And I’m not talking Wild Card having similarities to Under Siege. This is more like something structured in the vein of 1996’s The Glimmer Man (bummer).

    What’s on screen is mostly distracting, lush Vegas backdrop. It is directed by the man who made one of my favorite guilty pleasures of all time, Con Air. You wouldn’t know it though because he loses anything hyper kinetic and slows scenes down producing a mild, noir effect. He also caters to Statham by showcasing his obligatory, slow motion kicks and chops in the violently loud confrontations. That brings me to this notion: I haven’t seen many of his movies but I’ve always wondered if Shirebrook’s bald, butt kicker had certain types of stipulations edged in his contract. Just a thought.

    In addition to obedient direction and contract woes, Wild Card has a lot of cameos from high profile actors. However, they seem so fleeting, so irrelevant. Jason Alexander shows up for literally a minute of screen time playing Statham’s character’s co-worker, Anne Heche is almost unrecognizable playing a waitress, Sofia Vergara does the whole damsel in distress thing and it’s blink or you’ll miss it stuff, and Hope Davis looks bewildered playing a card dealer. Are these actors/actresses friends of director Simon West? Are they gaga over Jason Statham and owe him a favor? Or are they just desperate to be in a movie (in general)? Only Stanley Tucci gets to play something memorable as a quietly creepy mafia boss. His role is sadly the lone exception.

    All in all, I actually read in “Card’s” wiki page that it was almost directed by Brian De Palma. That would have been interesting. We’re talking the possibility of sweeping camera shots, tracking shots, and some split-screen stuff. I’m not saying De Palma totally revels in these techniques but I’m just going by his relegated style. Nevertheless, I’m gonna go with a negative but fair, two star rating via the finished product here. Movie-wise, Wild Card is a “card” that you should probably avoid turning over.

    Rating: 2 out of 4 stars

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  • “Well, I’ve been knocked down, blown up, lied to, shit on, and shot at. So nothing surprises me much anymore, except the things that people do to each other.
    I’m a licensed pilot, took karate in Tokyo.I lectured on economics at Yale.I can memorize the front pages of the New York Times in five minutes and repeat it back to you in five weeks.I was the National Golden Gloves champion three years in a row. I’m fluent in four languages and can wrestle with a menu in five more.
    Don’t interrupt me. There’s more.
    More ?
    Yeah. I lie a lot. ”

    A film with Statham always guarantees a few solid brawls that usually end up pretty painful for his opponents. In the meantime he’s commenting on everything with his juicy dialect. After testing his dramatic skills in the engaging film “Hummingbird” and getting his act together again in “Homefront” after the reasonable disappointing films “Parker” and “Safe”, he is now back with a straightforward hardcore action movie. Unfortunately, the action scenes can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

    Nick Wild (Jason Statham) is a kind of bodyguard offering his services to wealthy gamblers as they are trying their luck at the gaming tables in the casinos of Las Vegas. And on the side he also takes some small jobs like for instance acting as a punch-bag for losers who want to impress their girlfriend. A woman called Holly (Dominik Garcia-Londo) asks for help one day because she’s treated in a rather bad by a local tough guy. And there’s also a very young multi millionaire asking for protection. Those are the two central themes of this film, together with the simple fact that Nick also has some personal problems notably a drinking and gambling problem.

    The first storyline with tough guy Danny (Milo Ventimiglia) is responsible for the brutal part of the film. Not very original and on several occasions this was used in other revenge movies. The villain mistreats someone. The “good guy” mediates. The end result is a series of fights. And those fights are fierce with Statham defending himself with anything he can get his hands on. Highly original action moments which are very painful for his opponents. The moment I start handing out pseudo punches myself, means to me that the action is entertaining enough. You can expect Statham going nuts again and kicking some ass.

    The second story is the more serious part in which the weaknesses of Nick Wild take center stage. His drinking and gambling is what keeps him in Las Vegas. His reputation in this dissolute city and the company of bar girls and croupiers won’t stop him from dreaming about a more exotic place. This is represented in the form of an idyllic spot with a boat. His ultimate plan is therefore to save up enough money to clear off and leave all that misery behind him.

    My final conclusion is a bit split after watching this popcorn movie. You can’t call it a real action movie because they are a bit too skimpy. And the serious drama isn’t developed in such a way that you are impressed by it. Statham is simply Statham as we know him from all his films. That’s a fact that Statham fans can be certain of. And besides Stanley Tucci (who remains engraved in my memory as the strict airport manager in “The Terminal”) as the comic casino boss Baby and the very limited contribution of Jason “Seinfeld” Alexander as Pinky, a lawyer joining the same office as Nick, there are further no other significant roles. For me this average movie could be turned into an abbreviated version with all the action fragments assembled in succession.

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