© Universum/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Germany GmbH

Wild Card
U.S.A. 2015

Opening 12 Feb 2015

Directed by: Simon West
Writing credits: William Goldman
Principal actors: Jason Statham, Michael Angarano, Dominik García-Lorido, Hope Davis, Sofia Vergara

Las Vegas is a place where someone can lose themselves whether they are a winner or a loser. It is a place that can form and control you while at the same time making you believe that you are in control. It is a city filled with hopeless liars searching for something that will make them richer, smarter and in charge of their lives. That is where we meet Nick Wild (Jason Statham) drinking vodka, having a blue Christmas in some off-beat bar, and pretending to be a loser in order to make one of his clients look like the hero of the night. At the same time a woman (Sofia Vergara) has been severely abused, and dumped near a local hospital where she finds her way into the emergency room whispering Nick’s name. It turns out she is Nick’s ex-girlfriend Holly, and she wants revenge and needs his help, which leads them both into the forbidden zone of the mafia-controlled Golden Nugget.

The film is reminiscent of both the Transporter and the Expendables film series with its touch black humor, dynamic shots combined with slow motion scenes and perfectly choreographic fighting scenes. Vergara plays a strong woman character, and as she takes her out revenge, you can feel every man in the audience cringing. Although the fighting scenes are bloody, they are creative in their use of weapons and achieve a certain sense of order in this crazy place. The film not only deals with revenge but also reveals Nick’s fallacy on gamblers’ conceit. Nick’s job as bodyguard pays well but not enough to achieve his dream of getting away from the all-consuming city. As he begins to play Black Jack we see why he will never leave Las Vegas even when he has the money he needs.

The film works on many levels. It is brutally cruel and funny at the same time. There was only one aspect that didn’t quite fit and that was the character Cyrus Kinnick (Micheal Angarano), who is a young genius searching to overcome his fears by engaging Nick as his bodyguard. There are moments that his role is significant but, in general, his lines where not dynamic enough to be sharing the screen with Statham and Vergara or Ventimiglia, who gave a very strong performance. This film is best suited for those fans who love Transporter, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and Expendable films. (Shelly Schoeneshoefer)

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