Friday Fisticuffs: Wild Card (2015)

It’s been way too long since I’ve watched a new Jason Statham movie. While flipping through some of the movies on Epix On Demand, I saw Wild Card and decided to remedy that! This one’s directed by Simon West who also did The Mechanic with Statham as well as Expendables 2. The script comes from the legend William Goldman who had written the original book as well as the previous film incarnation, the 1986 film Heat starring Burt Reynolds. If that’s not enough to get you to watch a revenge film, I don’t know what is.

Statham stars as Nick Wild, a private investigator in Las Vegas who knows just about everyone. The flick starts with him staging a fight with a toupee-wearing D-bag as a way to get Sofia Vergara to run away with him. From there, he gets hired by Michael Angarano to show him around town and also keep him from getting beaten up.

But that’s not really the main thrust of the film. That comes when his friend Holly (Dominik Garcia-Lorido) tells him that some guys kidnapped her, beat her up and horribly assaulted her the previous night. She asks him to look into it, which he’s leery of because of the potential mob connections.

Though he’s not keen on the job, he soon discovers that Milo Ventimiglia’s Danny DeMarco did the damage. Wild then beats hell out of DeMarco’s body guards and ties him up so Holly can humiliate him in a squirm-worthy moment even though he totally deserves it.

As Nick thought, this leads to some trouble with local mobster Baby (Stanley Tucci) who oversees a kind of trial that goes in Nick’s favor. We also learn that, even though Nick says he wants to make enough money to leave Vegas, he also doesn’t know when to stop and totally blows a half million dollars made off of $25,000 they took from DeMarco. Oh and there are three epic fight scenes, one with Milo’s goons, one staged in a lower level casino (the kind I want to go to when/if I ever go to Vegas) and the last in a diner.

I’ll admit that I didn’t expect this film to start off so intensely. In that way, it reminded me of 70s revenge films like the first two Death Wish films, but with all kinds of that excellent Statham action we’ve come to know and love.

West’s a pro when it comes to filming those scenes and also setting them up so they’re incredibly emotionally satisfying. If you’re generally ambivalent towards Vegas gangsters, this one comes packed with the kinds who beat up women or try to take out our hero when he’s just trying to teach Angarano about life. And boy does Statham wreck shop on those thugs.

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