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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Wild Target

February 8th, 2011

Wild Target - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Wild Target opened in its native market with less than wild success. Here it barely made a peep in limited release. This happened despite a cast with a much higher than average name recognition level than most limited releases have. Perhaps a comedy about a hitman was hard to sell to art house moviegoers. Or maybe there were other issues.

The Movie

Bill Nighy plays Victor Maynard, a 54-year old hitman who is very skilled in his trade, but lives a very lonely life. His latest target is Rose, a con artist who just pulled a switch on a counterfeit Rembrandt. Her mark, crime boss Ferguson, is looking for payback. The first attempt doesn't go so well, and as Victor observes her while waiting for another chance, he becomes infatuated. She's wild and free and everything he's not. He can't bring himself to kill her, which is not only against everything a hitman should stand for, he's disappointed his mother, whose worried about how this will affect the family reputation. (It's a strange family.)

The only thing Victor can do is kill Rose, apologize to Ferguson for the blown hit, and refund the money. Instead, Victor protects Rose and runs away with her. Or tries to. Things get a little more complicated than he would like, but with the help of Tony, a young kid, the three of them get away. Of course, there will be more assassins sent to finish the job, and more complications arise.

This is a film that simply tries to be too much. It's a dark comedy, an action thriller and a romantic comedy. There's the romance between Victor and Rose, The mentorship between Victor and Tony, the con / revenge plot. It's just too much, and as such, no one aspect of the film truly works as well as its should. That's not entirely true, as there are a number of strong performances, but the script is so all over the place that it's still hard to become engrossed in any of it.

There are some good performance, some funny jokes, some well-staged action scenes, but none of it matters without a plot that's compelling enough to give a reason to care about the characters.

The Extras

The only extra on the DVD or the Blu-ray is a three-and-a-half minute long interview with Emily Blunt. There are no exclusives on the Blu-ray, nor does it shine on high definition. It only cost $8 million to make, so it's not a visually flashy film. It looks and sounds better than its production budget would indicate, but this is certainly not a film you will use to show off your home theater system. On the other hand, it costs less than 20% more than the DVD, so it's hard to beat that price.

The Verdict

I'm a fan of many of the cast members, I love con men movies, and I have a soft spot for British black comedies. I really wanted to love this movie. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. There are a number of funny scenes in Wild Target and a few fun action scenes, but for the most part, it's a missed opportunity. That said, enough works that it is worth checking out, especially if you enjoy the cast / genres as much as I do, but I would call it a rental. For those who are looking to buy, the Blu-ray is the better deal over the DVD, even if it is not overloaded with extras.

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Filed under: Video Review, Wild Target