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Speaking of Las Vegas…

For many, the thrill and the decadent lifestyle epitomised by Las Vegas will hold an enduring appeal on the big screen. With many classic films such as Casino and Ocean’s Eleven paying homage to the allure of Sin City, it’s no surprise that many recent movie releases have hoped emulate such success with their own gambling-related plotlines.

So in recent months we’ve seen Mark Wahlberg’s impressive The Gambler exploring the psychological power of the poker game, and then there’s this year’s effort, Wild Card.


The American crime thriller was released in late January of this year and was a remake of the 1986 Burt Reynolds film Heat that was based upon the successful William Goldman book of the same name.

With the award-winning director of The Expendables Simon West at the helm, it was hoped that the film would inject a great deal of action and glamour into the genre. And once Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels star Jason Statham was in place opposite the glamorous Sofia Vergara it seemed that all was set for an explosive Las Vegas thriller.

The plot focused on Statham’s character as a bodyguard who inevitably develops something of a gambling problem that lands him in trouble with the mob. With a densely woven storyline that saw Statham entering the criminal underworld and enjoying all of the fruits of the Las Vegas lifestyle. The movie even approached the excitement that can be found in online sites such as Uptown Aces, where players can enjoy the comforts of reliable deposit methods and play the Crazy Vegas slot game, amongst others.


Commercial failure

Despite the promise offered by the stars and the watertight script, Wild Card still suffered from critically scathing reviews. The Hollywood Reporter stated that the film was ‘an underwhelming yet slickly-helmed crime flick’, whereas The Wrap remarked that the film ‘delivered boredom when it promised mayhem’.

However, some saw a lighter side to the film with The Independent remarking that the movie offered a tongue-in-cheek version of the Las Vegas clichés, noting comic moments such as the song White Christmas being played over the film’s most violent scenes.

Despite this, the film was declared to be a commercial flop as it made only $3,200 on domestic box office compared to the estimated $30 million budget. All of which just goes to show that just like gambling, making big budget films can be a risky business!

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