Starring – Jason Statham… there are other people but I refuse to acknowledge named actors who are billed but only have one scene to show for it.
You have to give it to the Stath… he does try and sometimes with success, most recently I thought Hummingbird was very good, but as an actor he is about as typecast as someone can get so if the other elements that make up the film don’t work… well it’s going to be shit.
Statham is Las Vegas personal protection for hire Nick Wild that everyone on the strip knows, but when a friend is beaten/raped by a young sadistic member of the mob he helps her seek revenge while dealing with his own personal demons.
To be honest this felt like a film made for TV. The storylines never really feel like they are explored properly or concluded with any real satisfaction. You have Stath helping get revenge on mobster Milo Ventimiglia in the first act, followed by his addiction with gambling in the second and finally the mob getting back after our anti-hero in the third. Director Simon West tries to make each of these come full circle per act and it just doesn’t mesh together well as a film. Statham’s friend (hooker) who is his sole motivation for doing what he’s doing disappears a third of the way through the film. Wild is then meant to have this gambling addiction but we see him once in a casino betting and losing his shit before he then gets on with business. It’s all a bit inconsistent and feels like a lot of the story was thought of after the fact.
Another thing that made it feel a little sloppy was plot device after plot device. There were numerous aspects to this film that purely served the purpose of explaining away the plot, or getting something to happen and was not integral or consistent to what was happening. Because of this there was barely a scene that had tension in it as nothing had any continuing relevance.
The action is pretty brutal when it happens but feels like it’s in there because we know Statham can kick trans-atlantic arse, no other reason.
Sofia Vergara, Stanly Tucci and Jason Alexander are all in this film… they can all act… so why oh why are they given one scene a piece?! Especially Tucci, the guy is quality and his character is definitely someone you want to know more about… poor utilisation of talent = poor film making.
It feels like I’ve been ragging on this film a lot so far but there were actually aspects I liked about it. Some of the editing (particularly in the beginning) was cool and different, as I said with Run All Night I’m all for films trying different ways of shooting. The script was also pretty strong and can be seen best by Statham’s interaction with tertiary characters. Bartenders, waitresses, old friends, strangers, no matter who the interaction was with there was definitely a genuine sense of knowing between them. Lastly the scene where Stath is in the casino is a tense and entertaining one, not that I’d recommend to go see it based on that alone though.
Ultimately it’s just a nothing of a film really. It will disappear from your memory quicker than remake of the Italian Job.