If you're an action movie fan then Jason Statham is probably an actor that you keep an eye on to see what's coming out next. It's fair to say his films are some of the most exciting in the business and include films and franchises such as The Mechanic, Homefront, Snatch Crank, Transporter and The Expendables. Unless you've been living under a rock you would also be aware he stars in Fast and Furious 7 this month, and while that is dominating the cinemas he also has a new film on Blu-Ray this month as well, Wild Card.
Nick Wild (Jason Statham) is a Las Vegas bodyguard with lethal professional skills and a personal gambling problem. When a friend is raped and beaten by a sadistic thug, Nick strikes back, only to find out the thug is the son of a powerful mob boss. Suddenly Nick is plunged into the criminal underworld, chased by enforcers and wanted by the mob. Having raised the stakes, Nick has one last play to change his fortunes... and this time, it’s all or nothing.
Directed by Simon West, who has brought us impressive action fare such as Con Air, The Mechanic and The Expendables 2 over the years, this isn't his finest effort. While we can understand the film, which is based on the novel Heat by William Goldman, is more drama focused then action, when the action does heat up it's not really that extravagant or exciting. As an example (and this is a very minor spoiler), the final fight takes place in a back alley with 5 bad guys, and is over in about a minute.
For all those negatives there are some positives to Wild Card. It's fair to say that Jason Statham has more dialogue in this film then many others as it's a bit more of a dramatic, character driven tale then those he usually partakes in. From an artistic standpoint the film also has a bit of a 1970s feel to it with characters and clothing, many vehicles and even the casino having and older styling.
Ultimately, what should be a higlight in a Jason Statham film, is the biggest disappointment - the action sequences and for that reason it's hard to give this film a strong recommendation to either fans of Statham, or action films in general.
Shot digitally with RED Epic cameras Wild Card is actually a pretty impressive looking film and has been encoded using the AVC MPEG-4 codec and is presented in the film’s original 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Filmed digitally using the Red Epic cameras this is a pretty good looking film with a decent level of detail retained even in the many darker scenes. When the film heads outside into natural light the image really shines and we have to credit the filmmakers for really re-creating that 1970s look with the film.
If we were to nitpick there were some scenes that looked a little flat and lacking fine detail - we're not sure if that was a part of the filming process, or a result of some lowish bitrates during some parts of the film. Still, this Blu-Ray is vastly superior to the DVD release so make this your format of choice.
Subtitles are available in only one single format - an English Descriptive Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired which from our numerous samples through the movie demonstrated accuracy to the on-screen dialogue and sounds.
Review By: Dave Warner