Wild Card (2015)

It's hard for Jason Statham to do something different. I mean, he's not going to significantly alter his fighting style overnight, and action is what he's all about. He tried to do something with a lot less violence, and it was a critical and box office failure. So, he likely looked at his options and considered what he might do to break out of the mold.

With this movie, he doesn't break through anything. Well, he breaks through a few arms, knees, heads, and other various body parts, but the story is pretty damn weak. See, Jason is a bodyguard/PI/something else, and he claims to be the only one in Nevada. That's right - our movie called Wild Card is set in Sin City itself - Las Vegas. So, we've definitely embraced the obvious  and straight-forward stereotypes and established tropes that will give the whole movie a bland and uninspired story.

Really, the story is another illustration that Jason can't pick a story for the life of him. I don't know if his agent just reads the paycheck and tells Jason that he thinks he found a winner or what, but Jason's in danger of become the next Jean Claude Van Damme in a death spiral of bad stories that just set up chances to beat people up. So far, Jason hasn't slipped into the quick-cut/slow motion action scenes to cover up action sins and make the hero seem more capable than he might be in real life. But, it seems like it's a matter of time.

Maybe he'll go even less gracefully into that good night like Steven Seagal. Maybe he has enough money to just keep cranking out movies like Sylvester Stallone or Arnold. There's a chance that he could pull a Denzel and simply have the best scripts with the best production brought to him, but this movie would seem to indicate that it's not happening anytime soon. I'm pretty sure he doesn't have anywhere near Denzel's acting chops, so I guess he's stuck with whatever comes to him.

So, the action scenes are pretty good, but movies like John Wick have shown that they can be even better. I don't blame him for not stepping up his game for this movie, as it really doesn't deserve it. And the script is very pseudo-deep, so there aren't even enough action scenes to fill the void of the unintelligible and poorly-thought-out characters.  This is a movie that should be played on Saturday morning when there's nothing else on. Maybe it should play on TV opposite Football and NASCAR. It's not the worst movie ever, but it is more of a time-filler than actual cinema.

Acting was okay
Action was good
Story was terrible
Dialogue was bad
Direction was meh

Bottom Line: Statham needs to step up his game. And he needs to read scripts before he accepts them.



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