Wild Target is an energetic, silly romp through story lines and characters we’ve seen before. But at least there’s Bill Nighy.
Here’s a preview:
And now the deets:
Released June 18, 2010
Written by Lucinda Coxon, based on Pierre Salvadori’s film
Directed by Jonathan Lynn
Starring: Emily Blunt, Bill Nighy, Rupert Grint, Rupert Everett, Martin Freeman, and Eileen Atkins
Rated: PG13 (Should be R)
* * * * *
The first time I saw Bill Nighy was in Love Actually, and I thought he was brilliant. Fearless and funny. My opinion of him remains the same after seeing Wild Target, although the latter film is not quite as well written or directed as the former.
Victor Maynard (Nighy) is Europe’s best assassin. He is cold and very professional and wishes his clients would not take “half now, half later” so literally when it comes to payment. He is hired to kill Rose (Blunt), who has conned a very rich man out of nearly 1 million pounds. Unfortunately, circumstances delay Rose’s hit, so Victor has to follow her for more than a day. While doing so, his heart softens for her and he ends up saving her from a different hit man.
Suddenly Rose thinks that Victor is a private detective and so she hires him to protect her. They also pick up a homeless lad by the name of Tony (Grint), who later becomes Maynard’s apprentice. Maynard seems bemused at the turns his life is taking, but he is also taken with his own bemusement. See what I did there?
Add to the mix another assassin and Maynard’s crazy mother, and you have a pretty good dark comedy on your hands where a controlled and buttoned-up assassin finds his life changing in challenging yet good ways due to the free spirited, beautiful kleptomaniac.
This is a fine film. It’s quite British, as it often relies on awkward moments and status differences to feed the humor. The story is expected and nothing too special. Indeed, there are some large plot holes, such as where Tony came from, why he’s so naturally gifted, why they don’t just steal a better car, why Victor (a professional assassin trained to notice things) doesn’t notice Rose in his room, and why Rose really gives a flying crap when she finds out the truth about Maynard. She’s an unjudging free spirit; it shouldn’t matter to her.
The performances are where the fun of this movie really shines. Bill Nighy hits it out of the park with his staid personality, with a few quirks, having to adjust to fit his new life. Emily Blunt does what she can with her role, but it’s not as interesting as it needs to be- the fault of the writers. Rupert Grint clearly has a lot of fun as Tony and he is pleasant to see outside of the too-often morose role of Ron Weasley.
Rupert Everett is a very cleverly written antagonist, really a bit too cleverly written, but Everett found the person behind the lines and mugging and did a nice job. Martin Freeman’s performance is surprising at times and quite good.
All in all this is an entertaining, if not very challenging or tight, film. Fine for a Netflix night.
Content warnings: Very brief top nudity, quite a lot of profanity, a fair bit of violence.
Writing: 3 Acting: 4.5 Overall: 3.5
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