I can’t remember the last time I saw an actor look so bored on screen as Jason Statham in Wild Card. There’s resignation in his tired eyes, his one-liners are delivered without punch, and there are just way too many scenes of him drifting off and imagining he was somewhere else.
Statham stars as Nick Wild, a jaded Las Vegas private bodyguard, who’s working towards getting the hell out of Sin City and starting a new life. But when a lady friend of his (Dominik Garcia-Lorido) is assaulted by a vicious gangster, he helps her get revenge and ends up on the wrong side of a gang of dreaded thugs.
Expendables 2 director Simon West stages way too many slow-motion action scenes in which Statham uses his hands, his feet, a spoon, a credit card, and pretty much anything that’s in his reach, to fight off the unending stream of bad guys. It’s a shame these fight sequences aren’t particularly thrilling; Statham brings such little energy to these set pieces, they’re about as dull as the film’s many gambling scenes.
More laughable still is a parallel track in which Nick is hired to chaperone a young billionaire (Michael Angarano) about town. Good luck controlling your chuckles when the over-protected but thrill-seeking kid reveals that he sought Nick out to help him “kill the fear inside me”.
None of this would hurt so bad if the film didn’t have the pedigree that it boasts. For one, talented actors like Stanley Tucci, Anne Heche, Hope Davis, and Sofia Vergara are wasted in itsy-bitsy cameos. But worse, Wild Card is scripted by Oscar-winning Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid screenwriter William Goldman, for whom this clearly appears to be a paycheck job.
The movie feels overlong at 92 minutes, and in the end you’ll feel a lot like Statham’s character, who in a crucial scene, hangs around at a craps table way longer than he should have. I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five for Wild Card. Save yourself the trouble and the disappointment.