Upon looking at the cover of Wild Card, it’s easy to make the incorrect assumption that the film is a Transporter-like action flick that Jason Statham so often involves himself in. Believe it or not, this is a film that allows Statham to show just a little bit more of his dramatic and conversational capabilities. That sounds off, mainly because one doesn’t go into a Jason Statham movie expecting to enjoy the dialogue. No, you go into that movie expecting to enjoy the action sequences, and in Wild Card, you definitely get your fill. But there’s a little bit more beneath the surface than a simple mind-numbing action movie.
The screenplay by William Goldman (based on his 1985 novel of the same name) follows Nick Wild, a recovering gambling addict living in Las Vegas. He’s played by Statham, so it’s no surprise to learn that he has a few fighting tricks up his sleeve, but the opening scene of the film leads up to a seemingly inevitable something and then deflates in tension, allowing us to see a side of Statham that we haven’t seen much of before. The plot of the film revolves around Nick helping a colleague after she claims to have been raped, begging him to help her in her plans to take action against them. He does, and eventually the city’s mob boss (a marvelous Stanley Tucci) gets involved, which is always something to look forward to.
When the violence and throat slicing and drop kicks go down, they go down hard. There is a particular action sequence early on inside an apartment that is filmed in effective slo-mo, capturing a stylish sense of brutality. But the majority of this movie is talking, and that’s what makes it good. It focuses on its characters and Goldman’s script (which was also adapted into a film in 1986 in which Burt Reynolds played the leading role) loves its characters. I actually dug Wild Card. It isn’t as good as some of Jason Statham’s movies, but at least in this one he’s trying to give us more. And his fighting style is a thing of beauty.
‘Wild Card’ (2015)
Starring Jason Statham, Sophia Vergara, Stanley Tucci
Written by William Goldman
Directed by Simon West