Wild Card: Just Another Token Casino Flick?
When you’re asked to think of a great casino movie, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? It’s James Bond, isn’t it? Try to think of another. Having trouble? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The iconic portrayal of casinos inCasino Royale has overshadowed most of the other casino moves in recent times, and even movies that tried to play on the growing trend of online gambling flopped (Runner Runner, anyone?).
This hasn’t stopped producers from trying to use the casino setting in their movies, though. After all, what evokes images of luxe and extravagance more than a high-end casino? Unfortunately, this often isn’t enough, and even with production companies stumping up $30 million for the film’s budget, a casino movie is always a bigger gamble than most other genres.
This was exactly the trap that Wild Card fell into, and not even Jason Statham (of Transporter fame) could save this movie from flopping. Was anyone really surprised? Casino movies have been on a steady decline, and neither Runner Runner nor The Gambler managed to make big bucks. Wild Card, however, takes the cake, making only $3,200 in the United States in its first week of release.
It’s a far cry from the success seen by Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Statham’s other gambling-centric film, which proceeded to win awards from various agencies and to this day is known as one of the better films about gambling. What exactly went wrong with Wild Card? It’s hard to say. The film follows Nick Wild, who has a penchant for Blackjack, and here, we can give the film some points for trying to break out of the box. It doesn’t focus on Texas Hold’Em, which online portal Betfair describes as the oldest and most popular variant of poker, and instead honors another popular card game. But this seems to be as far as its originality goes, because the rest of the film is usual Statham fare.
As Wild juggles his day job as a bodyguard-for-hire and his addiction to Blackjack, he finds himself caught in the middle of some trouble as he tries to help a friend in need. That’s about it, and right now, it’s unclear where the $30 million supposedly spent on the film’s budget has gone, because there aren’t even any notable special effects or high-speed car chases (which we all love Statham in) in the film. The acting is wooden, and if the film had any redeeming qualities at all, it’s that Statham “fights like a dancer”, but that’s really something we’ve come to expect.
Watch the official trailer for Wild Card below, and check out our other movie reviews for young adults.