Wild Card Is Less Wild, More Dull

A few good fight scenes and not much else: critics
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2015 11:58 AM CST

If you like Jason Statham movies, you'll probably like Wild Card. Otherwise, probably not. Though it's based on William Goldman's 1985 novel Heat, this flick left critics cold. Here's what they're saying:

  • "Watching Stanley Tucci is almost worth the price of a ticket to Wild Card. Almost," writes Betsy Sharkey at the Los Angeles Times. "He makes even bad films better just by being there," but even he can't up the ante too much here. Bodies pile up in this flick about the low life of Las Vegas, but it's "no royal flush, no full house, no three of a kind." Actually, it's "a bust."
  • Bruce DeMara disagrees. Wild Card "is much likelier to get a positive reception from all quarters" than the Goldman novel's first adaptation starring Burt Reynolds in 1986, he writes at the Toronto Star. Director Simon West "allows the yarn to unwind at a perfectly measured pace," he writes. "Statham is more interesting than usual" and "the fight scenes are well choreographed and loads of fun."

  • "Statham's thick voice and inexpressive acting suggest brain fog rather than gritty blues," writes Nicolas Rapold at the New York Times. He's "as sure-fisted as ever" in the fight scenes, but "West can only summon dead air in between." Wild Card is just "a series of sulks and wallops" that Stanley Tucci's casino boss and Hope Davis' blackjack dealer can't save.
  • There's "a lively opening scene," but "nothing that comes after it quite measures up," writes Scott Foundas at Variety. The movie "ambles episodically from vigilante revenge fantasy to mismatched buddy movie" and its "disparate narrative strands never really come together." Tucci and Davis "give the only unpredictable sparks to a movie altogether less wild than staid."
(More movie review stories.)

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