Wild Card: Extended Edition review

Statham gambles on something a little meatier than usual in this Vegas-set thriller

Jason Statham tries his hand at some 'Capital-A' acting playing Nick Wild, a Las Vegas bodyguard and recovering gambling addict who sets out to help an old girlfriend (Dominik Garcia-Lorido) after she's assaulted by sadistic mobster (Milo Ventimiglia).

If that sounds like a tale with all of the usual trappings of a typical Statham actioner, it's worth noting that it's based on William 'The Princess Bride' Goldman's 1985 novel Heat (previously adapted for the big screen in '86, starring Burt Reynolds). So, while the star gets a couple of opportunities to beat people up, Wild Card is actually a rather more thoughtful and offbeat piece of cinema than his fans may be expecting.

As happy as we are to see Statham doing something a little different (and doing it rather well), that doesn't automatically make Wild Card a cracking piece of cinema. This is a film too happy to wallow in familiar Vegas clichés, and it suffers from an uneven narrative structure not helped by a lengthy opening sequence that has literally no bearing whatsoever on anything that follows. So, while it was clearly worth the gamble from Statham's point of view, Wild Card ultimately ends up as an interesting failure.

Picture: Despite being shot using Red Epic digital cameras, director Simon West and cinematographer Shelly Johnson have attempted to give Wild Card a '70s aesthetic. This means that the Blu-ray's 2.40:1 Full HD encode is not only thick with digital grain, but also features a muted colour palette and high contrast style that blows out highlights while crushing blacks right down. This has the effect of giving medium and long shots a slightly soft appearance, although close-ups still retain plenty of fine detail.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: Wild Card features an immersive DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that offers a satisfying blend of location ambience and bone-crunching impacts. The dialogue and score are both well rendered and balanced naturally in the mix.
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: This Blu-ray can only muster up a trio of promo featurettes. The lack of the director's commentary from the US release is disappointing, but is presumably due to the US disc hosting the 92-minute theatrical cut of the film, while this UK release boasts a longer 103-minute version.
Extras rating: 1.5/5

We say: A wildly uneven, but not unenjoyable, outing for Statham given reasonable treatment on Blu-ray

Wild Card: Extended Edition, Lionsgate, Region B BD, £25 Approx