Do you know what happens when you push a bone-breaking jujitsu expert to the, well, breaking point? Action, baby, action, and the bodies they do pile up like presents under the tree in the new action movie "Wild Card."
With trouble around every corner, Statham soon gets into his groove, using hands, feet, lightning-fast speed and found objects — a spoon, guys, beware the spoon — to fight off endless hordes of muscled baddies with guns.
As in most of the the British action star's films, Statham's mastery of mixed martial arts and kickboxing is far more important than his ability to growl out the clipped, caustic lines he is usually handed.
"Wild Card" seemed as if it might break that pattern.
It is based on the William Goldman novel
Sadly, "Wild Card" is no royal flush, no full house, no three of a kind. A bust is I think the term I'm searching for.
Although the film has little of the smarts and the sizzle of the best of Goldman, it does have a splash of the writer's sense of irony. It becomes one of "Wild Card's" few saving graces. The film, directed by B-action specialist
There are two stories running on parallel tracks that are destined to cross at critical times. One is about a rich computer nerd named Cyrus (
The other involves a lady of the night, Holly (Dominik García-Lorido), who's still got some kind of claim on Nick's heart. Danny DeMarco (
There are scores to settle, massive amounts of money to be won and lost at the tables, a good-hearted waitress in a 24-hour diner always pouring coffee (Anne Heche), a sexy, slick dealer named Cassandra (
"Wild's" fight scenes are not particularly chilling, thrilling, but they are a good deal of fun. Otherwise, Nick's contemplating his sorry state and those PTSD flashbacks he's always having over a shot of whiskey. Yawn.
In most things, "Wild Card" is predictable, so you can guess how it ends. There. Are. No. Surprises.
And yet. Let us pause for a moment to reflect on the incredible acting prowess of Stanley Tucci. He makes even bad films better just by being there. "Wild Card" proves it once again.
Watching Tucci use "wry" and "irony" exactly as God and Webster's intended to chew up his two-minute scene is almost worth the price of a ticket. Almost.
MPAA rating: R for strong violence, language and some sexuality/nudity
Running time: 1 hour, 32 minutes