WILD CARD

Available On Demand contemporaneous with its theatrical release.  A middling Jason Statham action film — nowhere near as frenetic as “Crank” or his “Transporter” films. Turns out it’s a remake of the 1986 Burt Reynolds vehicle, “Heat.” Some non-touristy locations in Las Vegas and a couple of very busy fight scenes — I watched the last one twice — but I was hoping for more from the William Goldman script — a nifty plot twist, some neato dialogue — but this could have been written by anyone of a hundred scripters.

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JOHN WICK

Excellent action flick with well choreographed fights that don’t drag on. Nice understated, show-don’t-tell moment near start with a rear shot of Viggo, the big-shot Russian crime boss, calling John Leguizamo. He asks JL why he punched Viggo’s son. JL replies: “He stole John Wick’s car and killed his dog.” Viggo mutters a faint “Oh,” as he turns with a slack expression and ends the call. No speeches about waking a sleeping tiger, etc. needed.

The script goes an extra mile in (under)world building by creating a clandestine criminal society operating like a nation state in the interstices with its own rules enforcement plus its own currency.  Someone could do a lot more with the concept.

Then we come to a couple of pure BS moments. Viggo’s men get the better of Wick; does Viggo kill him on the spot? Hell no. He’s gotta tie him to a chair and yammer at him. (In the back of my head I hear Dr. Evil’s son shouting, “Here’s a gun, Dad! Shoot him! Shoot him NOW!”) Of course Wick gets away. And later, when he has the drop on Viggo, does he kill him? Nooooo! Which costs a friend his life a little later. Why, why why does this happen in film after film? Whatever. Except for those two lapses, a very well-done revenge flick.

BONUS: This cool montage shows you every kill from the film. (obviously a spoilerfest) http://tinyurl.com/mh89phk

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