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 the Classics: Road to Perdition


Road to Perdition started as a graphic novel by noir author Max Allan Collins.  Max Allan Collins has written many books and worked on television shows and movies over the years.  The film is directed by Sam Mendes and is his second film, after American Beauty and is currently directing the James Bond movies, also starring Daniel Craig.  I haven’t watched this film since it was in theaters, it was the only Paul Newman film I ever saw in a theater sadly.

This was Conrad L. Hall’s last film, he won an Oscar for this film as well as 2 others.  He was nominated for another 7 films through out his career, his career included a number of classic neo-noir films. This has a lot of great classic noir shots thanks to Hall. This is also historic for being the last film Paul Newman starred in.  Newman plays John Rooney and Craig plays his son Connor Rooney.  The Rooney’s are based on real life gangsters by the name of Looney.  This story is also based loosely on actual events of an enforcer going rogue on the Looneys.

Tom Hanks plays that rogue enforcer, Michael Sullivan.  Who goes on the run after his son Michael Junior played by Tyler Hoechlin witness a gang land slaying.

Jude Law’s character used a lot of famous photographs from famed crime scene photographer Arthur ‘Weegee’ Fellig.  Fellig is portrayed by Joe Pesci in the film “The Public Eye”(I have not seen this film yet) and his first book of photographs inspired the classic film-noir “The Naked City”(great film and hope to re-watch this classic and post about it in the future) and its subsequent television series.

Stanley Tucci plays real life mobster Frank Nitti.  Nitti was the right hand man of Al Capone, though Capone is mentioned numerous times in the film, he never makes an on-screen appearance.

Road to Perdition is about 2 sets of fathers and sons, I recently noticed that the father-son dynamic is something more prevalent in today’s noir and not that common in the classic era of film-noir.  Has anybody else picked up on this theme? I loved this movie when I seen it in the theater 13 years ago and still love it.  If you haven’t seen it, search it out, if you haven’t seen it in a while, re-watch it again.