Review: Wild Card

Wild Card is a neo-noir film starring Jason Statham and directed by Simon West.  West seems to be the go to director for a remake these days.  This is a remake of Heat starring Burt Reynolds.  I have not seen this film so I can not compare it to this updated version.  This is also the first screenplay from William Goldman in over 11 years.  This is also based on Goldman’s novel.  Goldman is one hell of a writer and has written many classic books as well as written screenplays for his and other great authors works.

This story takes place in Las Vegas where Statham plays Nick Wild.  Wild is a classic hardboiled muscle for hire.  We never really learn about his past, but hints throughout the film lead us to believe it was pretty epic.  The first part of this film is a little case he takes where he plays the bad guy trying to pick up a guy’s girlfriend in a bar.  If you seen the trailer you already know about this.  He basically takes a fall to make the girlfriend look up to and fall in love with her boyfriend.  Then we get a call from a girl who asks Wild for his help.  He looks into it a little and realizes this is way over his head and does not want to get involved.  Our beat-up femme fatale is played very well by Dominik Garcia-Lorido.  She sucks Wild into the case and he knows this will not end good.  Our bad guy who needs taken care of, for our femme fatale is played by Milo Ventimiglia.  He does very well as the spoiled rich kid with a bad attitude.

Wild is a hard drinker who likes to gamble and isn’t very good at it.  He is very self-destructive and this may be his downfall in the end.  The cinematography has some great noir style throughout the film.

This film has a ton of little parts played by pretty big actors, with the likes of Hope Davis, Michael Angarano,  Stanley Tucci, Jason Alexander, Sofía Vergara, and Anne Heche.

This film has not been well received by critics or the film going public and I’m not sure really why?  I rather enjoyed this film, though it starts out pretty slow and the action doesn’t really get started until the last 30 minutes or so.  I can see why people wanting a Jason Statham action film would have got to bored with the story before the action got good for them.  I rather liked the slow build up to our hero’s destiny.  I think if you are a neo-noir fan or noir fan, you will find this a very good film well worth your time.

Re-Watching Pathology


So I was going down the list of movies classified as neo-noir on IMDb, to see if I can find any hidden gems I wasn’t aware of and to see what films I wanted to re-watch and review on this site.  Quite aways down this list I noticed this movie, Pathology.  I thought “I remember that movie!”  I originally watched this film back in 2008 when it came out on DVD for two reasons, fairly good reviews from horror fans and it had Alyssa Milano in it.  From what I remember I liked this film and thought it was an above average horror movie and Alyssa wasn’t in it as much as I would have hoped.  I would have never thought of this film as a neo-noir though.

On a second viewing I wanted to see why this would be classified as neo-noir and if I would agree.  So here are the elements I picked up on that would make it a neo-noir.  We have a lot of shadow and washed out grey scenes that look almost black and white.  There are a lot of shots filmed from a ground eye view, popular in noir.  We have a femme fatale played by Lauren Lee Smith that sucks our protagonist in.  Our main protagonist gets in a situation that is way over his head and very bleak.  This gives us the sense of doom that all good noir movies posses.  We have heinous crimes committed, though these crimes are not committed for profit like most noir.  There is not a very happy ending, just like most great noir.

This story starts with a gifted doctor, our protagonist, Ted Grey played by Milo Ventimiglia.  He leaves his girlfriend played by Milano to go study Pathology at an unnamed prestigious city morgue.  There he meets a slightly socially awkward Ben played by Keir O’Donnell.  Ben is an outcast and not accepted by the in-crowd led by Jake, played by Michael Weston and includes Smith’s femme fatale character.  Ted is slowly drawn into the popular group of gifted pathologists with nights of drinking and drugs.  They soon drag Ted into their sick game of killing people and then having the others in the group figure out how they did it.  This is just the start of the dark journey we go on.

A few great smaller parts played by Larry Drake and John de Lancie were very entertaining.  This is written by the writing team of Neveldine and Taylor who also brought us the Crank movies.

So is this film a neo-noir?  I think so, it definitely has horror elements, but mostly these are because of the gore, we are dealing with people who cut dead bodies open to see why they died after all.

I think this little film is worth watching for horror fans and noir fans alike.  It’s a pretty good story with a few like-able characters and a lot of unlike-able ones.