Jason Statham wants to get the hell out of Vegas in Simon West’s Wild Card, a remake of the Burt Reynolds starring 1986 flick Heat. An adaptation of screenwriter William Goldman’s 1985 novel, shit goes down in this money-losing, face-smashing, spoon-killing crime-thriller.
All Nick Wild (Statham) wants for Christmas is to leave Sin City for good. The ass-kicking bodyguard dreams of hitting the high seas and leaving the dazzling lights of Las Vegas well and truly behind him. There’s one big problem: Nick loves to gamble. After getting his hands on $25,000 dollars following a payback mission on rapist playboy gangster, Danny DeMarco (Milo Ventimiglia), the scowling Brit manages to blow it all in one night on the cards table. With the vengeful DeMarco breathing down his neck and without a cent to his name, an unexpected helping hand from weirdo millionaire Cyrus Kinnick (Michael Angarano) means his dreams of getting out of town still might be achievable.
The Stathamater’s usual scowl-based style kicks up a notch in a 21st century re-boot that’s plagued by cheesy hardman dialogue and a mismatched structure.With a soundtrack of Xmas hits, quirky action sequences – including a brutal ‘death by utensils’ finale – are a welcome relief and playfully enjoyable. A surprising cameo from the ever-delightful Stanley Tucci as the hilariously named mobster kingpin, Baby, felt forced, yet made for the most engaging scene of the entire flick, while Angarano’s tech geek – the stereotype of a nerdy virgin – was laughably creepy.
The Expendables 2 directors modern day take tries for hard-hitting with a fun-ish edge, but fails to convince on either front. It’s similar ground for the Transporter star with his usual moody tough guy act, but Wild Card – a remake the world really could have done without – makes for a thoroughly unconvincing, implausible spectacle.