Wild Target

9 Dec

Title: Wild Target
Jonathan Lynn
Lucinda Coxon, adapting from the original screenplay by Pierre Salvadori
Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Rupert Grint, Eileen Atkins, Martin Freeman, Rupert Everett
MPAA Rating:
PG-13, violence, some sexual content and brief strong language
98 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating:
Rotten Tomatoes:


The ensemble Wild Target managed to assemble was simply sensational, just look at those names above and you’ll know just how good this film could have been. Unfortunately, though, their talents are wasted in this film, the remake of 1993 French film called Cible Emouvante, which really wasn’t all that much better. Seriously, this film never worked for me, but I found myself actually enjoying bits of it, if only just because of the collective charm of this terrific group of actors. But that’s just the thing, the actors may have been very charming, while the film is anything but.

Maybe it’s the fact that when someone tells me about a British dark comedy film about assassins my mind instinctively thinks about the sublime In Bruges, and under that standard very few films could do well. Or maybe it’s just that this one just wasn’t very good. The assassin in question is played by Bill Nighy, and he’s very good at his job, going into every job professionally and never taking things personally, just dispatching the ones he’s paid to do in and going back to his business.

Bill Nighy is a really good actor, his supporting turns in films like Love Actually, The Constant Gardener or Notes on a Scandal all very good examples of what he can bring to a movie. Now here he is in a starring role, and if you’ve seen the stuff he’s done in a couple of 2005 TV movies then you’ll know amazing the guy can be in those too. I”m obviously talking about The Girl in the Café and Gideon’s Daughter, both performances which got him nominated for a Golden Globe, and the latter of which actually won him the trophy.

So yeah, Mr. Nighy is always a pleasure to watch, and here he is reunited with Emily Blunt, one of his co-stars in Gideon’s Daughter, who plays Rose, a con artist he’s hired to murder because she’s crossed a couple of the people you don’t want to ever cross. However, after watching her go through her work as professionally as he does his he begins to like her, and decides he’s not able to do this one job.

This may be another problem for Wild Target. These two are amazing actors, and we’ve seen them do something great together before this one, and the fact that they’re not warranted the material needed to recreate some of that magic makes one a bit pissed off at this one, just desperately wanting it to be something more than it is.

Even the direction is quite alright, Jonathan Lynn being the guy who directed the lovely Marisa Tomei to her Oscar for My Cousin Vinny, it’s just that the script is a mess. True enough, the source material wasn’t all that hot to begin with, but Lucinda Coxon’s adaptation of the original script is still nowhere near decent, it tries to be in many genres at the same time, referencing many styles all at once, and it never once gets it right.

Anyways, we have Mr. Nighy’s character, Maynard, developing feelings for Rose. And we also have Rupert Grint, with whom Mr. Nighy has worked in the last Harry Potter film, playing a character who Maynard and Rose kind of bump into along the way and Maynard takes him in as an apprentice. As well as Eileen Atkins playing Maynard’s mother, a very demanding woman, and Martin Freeman who plays a rival assassin. I love the actors here, but the roles are just stale, and this would have been a much better film had the plot remained just focused on Maynard and Rose and the evolution of their relationship, too much is made of other stuff for that side of the story to fully mature.

Mr. Nighy and Ms. Blunt bring their all to Wild Target, these are two actors who work off each other damn well, but there’s just not much to work with here. There’s a lot of killing and a lot of a lot of things, but nothing is really needed, the humor is iffy at its best, even though our two leads bring their own wits to this which adds a lot to it all. For two actors that can play off each other so well, the relationship their characters develop is just horribly weak, it’s just a frustrating ordeal to watch all in all. Not entirely bad, but it could have been so much better.

Grade: C+


One Response to “Wild Target”

  1. Mystery Man March 12, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    great review! I just got this in from Netflix thi week and will be watching it this afternoon. I wonder if I’ll think the same thing. hmmm…

    If you get the chance, check out my review later on in the week

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