A Jason Statham movie after a long time and that too directed by the same Simon West who made the very much likeable The Mechanic and Con Air. This time around the makers have seriously cut down on the action and have genuinely tried to give the movie a heart which in so many previous cases they forgot. The result as it turns out is bittersweet. Sweet because the style and the presentation click, bitter because you sorely miss the ballistic action that the Statham movies are known for. By the time you reach the end of the film, you cannot help but feel whether the lack of the action is because of the story or is it truly because of the fact that Statham is aging.
The story revolves around Nick (Statham) an ace gambler who is laying low and trying to turn a new leaf by having a peaceful existence. He helps friends and other harmless people for money and as, the many references would suggest, is lethal with his hands. He gets embroiled in a scuff with three powerful bad guys after the trio brutally rape and torture a friend of his for the sake of nothing but pleasure. She turns to him for help and he gives in knowing fully well what is in store. He quickly gets sucked into a world that he was trying to leave as the trio implicate him for stealing a hefty sum of money (which he did steal) and two murders(which he did not commit). In the midst of all this is a teenage client of his who has employed his services to be his protector and who proves to be much more useful to him than he had anticipated. The rest of the story involves him getting fair and square with the gangsters and getting out of it all for a clean life.
As you might already have understood, this isn’t a film heavy on the plot. That is never the case with any Statham movie but this one is even on the lighter side of light stories. The plot is nothing but a chain of events interrelated and running into each other simultaneously. The action as I already mentioned is meager. The bulk of it is highly stylized and in slow motion which coupled with some nice special effects make for a pretty viewing and that further wets you appetite for more. You crave for more action and even a repetition of what you might have seen but instead you are served more and more of Jason Statham talking and thinking and more talking and thinking which after a while gets tedious.
Like all Jason Statham film, he is again a one man show with the rest of the characters just filling in to make up the narrative. None of them makes any serious impact. Even the rape victim narrates her story with incomprehensible ease. However the film holds your interest in parts. The action, whatever little of it is present is awesome to look at. The climax, involving Statham finishing off five or more guys single-handedly is the best piece of action and also the most effective. The first fight with the two big guys is also well filmed. I particularly enjoyed the initial sequences wherein the character of Nick is established. But because of the lack of emotional connect with the characters, the action feels superficial and never really makes its way to your heart. The scene where he wins it all and dumps it all back in is also somewhat interesting.
Overall, Wild Card could be a decent one time watch if you are a Jason Statham fan and have nothing better to do. It will also help to enjoy the film if you can keep your expectations low. Not that we have our expectations sky-rocketing for every Statham film, but with this one, even the expectation for some long and scintillating action sequences will also have to be kept at a low. “I believe you get my drift!…” now that was from my friend Nir! And he in his sarcastic delight would love to tear this film apart but me…I am a kinder soul.