“Wild Card” is an American crime thriller movie, directed by Simon West (“The Mechanic”, “The Expendables 2”), a re-make of the 1986 film “Heat”, which starred Burt Reynolds and was itself an adaptation of the 1985 novel of the same name by William Goldman. Goldman also wrote the screenplays for both movie versions.
Jason Statham (“Snatch”, The Transporter”), who also produced the movie, plays the lead role of Nick Wild, a former military man living in Las Vegas and earning a living as a chaperone / body guard for hire. He also has dreams of leaving it all behind and starting a new life in Corsica.
At the start of the movie Nick is drinking in a bar and hitting on a woman, Doris (Sofia Vergara – “Chef”, “Fading Gigolo”) despite the fact that she is with another man – Osgood (Max Casella – “Inside Llewyn Davis”). Despite appearing physically stronger and tougher than Osgood, Nick is beaten in the fight that ensues. It is later revealed that Osgood hired Nick to start the fight, and let him win, so that he would be able to impress Doris.
He is hired by a timid young man, Cyrus Kinnick (Michael Angarano – “The Brass Teapot”) to show him around the city and be at his side for protection whilst he gambles. Kinnick, we learn is a self-made millionaire who rally wants Nick to teach him how to be brave.
Meanwhile, Holly (Dominik García-Lorido – “Magic City Memoirs”) wants Nick to help her find the man who brutally raped her and then had his henchmen work her over and dump her outside the hospital, as he knows everyone on the seedy side of life in Vegas. Holly is an escort who once loved Nick, and when he had previously hit rock bottom, she’d nursed him back to health, so Nick feels indebted to her.
Nick tracks down the man responsible, Danny DeMarco (Milo Ventimiglia – “Heroes”, “Killing Season”) and subdues and restrains him and his two henchmen so that Holly can come and extract her revenge. She thinks about cutting off DeMarco’s manhood, but having humiliated him she eventually chooses not to, instead taking US$50,000.00 from his desk. She splits the cash with Nick and then leaves town.
Nick takes his share of the cash to a casino and, watched by Kinnick, begins to win big, with US$506,000.00 in casino chips. However, he has a crisis of confidence over his Corsica plans and decides that he needs more cash to avoid having to one day return to Vegas, so goes back to the tables…
There are a number of well known names in fleeting roles, such as mobb boss Baby (Stanley Tucci – “Hunger Games”), waitress Roxy (Anne Heche – “Six Days Seven Nights”) and lawyer Pinky (Jason Alexander – “Seinfeld”, “Pretty Woman”) none of whom get much to do, and I personally felt that the obvious talents of Sofia Vergara were under-used too!
The problem with this movie is that, whilst it’s entertaining enough, it doesn’t seem to really know what it’s all about – or maybe I just didn’t get it?!
Is it a buddy movie (Nick and Kinnick’s friendship), a revenge movie (Holly’s revenge), an action movie (Nick’s various fight scenes), an escape from the baddies movie (Nick and DeMarco), a drama…??
There was much potential here, but the end result, in my opinion, is just a bit too muddled and vague.