Wild Card (Blu-ray)

April 6, 2015 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton and Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

During the opening scene of Wild Card, we see Nick Wild (Jason Statham) sitting at a bar. Clearly he’s had too much to drink. We then see a couple walk in. The man is trying to convince his girl to move away with him and marry him. Before long, Nick begins to bully both of them, touching the girl and eventually pulling the man’s toupee off and teasing him. The couple leave the bar and Nick follows them to the parking lot. A scuffle ensues and eventually the man knocks Nick to the ground and he and his girlfriend leave. This is quite a way to open a film. It also shows a vulnerable side to Jason Statham. At least for a moment. We later learn more about why these events happened the way they did, but that’s best left for the viewer to see. I caught on to it fairly easy, but it’s interesting nonetheless. This sequence really got me into the movie. I was expecting this to be another run-of-the-mill straight to video action flick. Unfortunately, the film fails to live up to this opening sequence. It’s the story of a recovering gambler trying to settle his debts and eventually leave the Vegas life behind for good. We’ve seen this story many times before. Nick works all kinds of odd jobs helping people make a good impression in front of their girlfriends and what not. It isn’t long before he’s hired to track down men for a woman who was raped and beaten. This leads to other plot developments and confrontations with several villains.

Jason Statham has done more than his share of action films, but Wild Card falls somewhere in the middle. At the end of the day, it’s just too routine and forgettable to make much of an impression, but it also has some terrific moments as well. I mentioned the opening sequence, but there few action scenes throughout the film are very well staged. There are also some famous faces who pop up throughout the film. These include Jason Alexander, Sophia Vergara and Stanley Tucci to name a few. I think the problem is the plot becomes less and less interesting as the film progresses. Just when it should be building towards something big, it goes for another cliché. The film is based off the novel Heat which was made into a movie in 1986 of the same title starring Burt Reynolds. The film is really a stretch for Statham, either as he goes about his usual ways here. He has that seemingly always existent stubble and wears a scowl like no other. The film has its moments, but is ultimately a letdown.

Video: How’s it look?

The nicely-framed 2.40:1 AVC HD image looks, for the most part, stunning. A new to Blu-ray film and shot digitally, it reeks of anything and everything we’d associate with high definition. I personally feel that the movie is a bit too stylized for its own good, but the non-stop action, shades of different colors and whatnot – well, they make for a very interesting look to the film. Detail, as we’d expect, is top notch and we get plenty to chances to gawk at Statham’s perpetual 5 o’clock shadow. Essentially, this is everything you’d expect it to look like.

Audio: How’s it sound?

I installed a new receiver last week, broke out my older (yet more superior) speakers and calibrated everything with Audyssey’s new microphone. Ok, so what right? But I must have done something right as everything I watch sounds, well, amazing. Maybe it’s a placebo effect and maybe it’s technology or a combination of the two but after hearing twenty minutes of Wild Card, I was really digging my new investment (or as my wife says, “toy”). The 360 degree soundstage is very dynamic, vocals are pure and crisp – Stathan’s grizzly voice is front and center. The LFE have a fairly big role in this film and it seemed as if the surrounds were always humming along, offering some sort of support. While the movie itself might use some work, this DTS HD Master Audio mix hits the nail on the head.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot to crow about in the supplemental department, but what’s included might satisfy a rabid fan or two. Then again, maybe it won’t.

    • Audio Commentary – Director Simon West offers a pretty straight-forward commentary track and does a fine job with it. He comments on the original script by William Goldman, some of the modifications made therein and some semi-technical comments about the shoot. It’s not the best track out there, but it’s certainly not the worst.
    • Original Sin: Las Vegas and the Characters of Wild Card – A surprisingly robust interview with the main faces in the film as well as some of the minor (yet recognizable) characters in the film.
    • Script Vignette – We get a history of the script as well how it evolved and eventually made it to the screen.

The Bottom Line

It’s hard to muster much praise for Wild Card. It has its moments, but the story is fairly weak and it lags too often in the middle. Despite a promising opening and a few decent action sequences, it’s hardly worth your time. There are worse Statham films out there, but far better ones as well.

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