(US - 2015)
Directed by Simon West. Written by William Goldman. Cast: Jason Statham, Michael Angarano, Milo Ventimiglia, Dominik Garcia-Lorido, Stanley Tucci, Hope Davis, Anne Heche, Sofia Vergara, Jason Alexander, Max Casella, Francois Vincentelli, Chris Browning, Matthew Willig, Davenia McFadden. (R, 92 mins)
Jason Statham's peak days as a solo box-office draw appear to be hitting a valley with recent under-performers like KILLER ELITE (2011), SAFE (2012), PARKER (2013), and HOMEFRONT (2013). Even the third EXPENDABLES entry did significantly less business than its predecessors, and all of that has combined to damn WILD CARD to a limited release/VOD burial from Lionsgate, who've apparently lost faith in Statham's ability to open a movie. None of this means the 47-year-old action hero is done: he's still got his Liam Neeson action icon rebirth to look forward to in a decade or so, and in the immediate future, he's playing the villain in the upcoming FURIOUS 7, and teams up with Melissa McCarthy in the slapstick comedy SPY, due out this summer. WILD CARD is a remake of the forgotten 1987 Burt Reynolds box-office bomb HEAT, based on a novel by Oscar-winning screenwriter William Goldman (BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID, ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, MARATHON MAN). If HEAT is remembered at all today, it's for being the movie where an irate Reynolds infamously punched director Dick Richards in the face after an on-set disagreement. Scripted by Goldman himself, HEAT was so plagued by production problems that Richards was actually the film's second director, a replacement for Robert Altman, who quit after one day of shooting. After the altercation with Reynolds, Richards quit and was then replaced by veteran journeyman Jerry Jameson (AIRPORT '77), who finished the movie without incident, with final credit going to a semi-pseudonymous "R.M. Richards."
REDEMPTION) and while his acting chops are better than he's even given credit, he just looks bored here and can't enliven this bland, lifeless story. Statham is Nick Wild, a Las Vegas "security consultant" reduced to letting clients deck him to impress their girlfriends. He's trying to put together a $500K nest egg to pack up and move to Corsica, but even he knows he'll just be counting the days until he's back in Vegas. Like HEAT, WILD CARD gives Nick two stories that never really come together: his prostitute ex Holly (Dominik Garcia-Lorido, Andy Garcia's daughter) is brutally beaten and raped by sniveling brat mob scion Danny DeMarco (Milo Ventimiglia) and his two dudebro goons, prompting her to beg Nick to help her exact revenge; and Nick is also pestered by wealthy computer genius Cyrus Kinnick (Michael Angarano), a likable but spineless sort who wants lessons in standing up for himself and facing his fears.