Is Jason Statham’s Leading Man Status In Danger?

Wild Card 4Jason Statham has had an inconsistent 2015 to say the least. With the unbelievable success of Fast and Furious 7 in which the cast said goodbye to the late Paul Walker, Statham fortunately overshadowed his previous release.

While Fast and Furious took a reported $349 million globally at the Box Office his other film wasn’t so successful. Months before the release of the latest installment of the Fast and Furious series, Wild Card was released to an underwhelming response.

Wild Card took just $3,200 at the Box Office, which had many labeling it as one of the biggest flops of the year. What made it worse was that producers spent an alleged $30 million making Statham’s latest offering. With little to no return, what was so disastrously wrong with the action movie?

Wild Card exhibits everything you’d expect from your archetypal Statham film; blood, fist fights aplenty, subpar acting and frantic action over substance. But for the casual viewer, Wild Card isn’t that bad – it has a solid plot whereby the film follows the character flaws of hard-man-for-hire Nicky Wild (Statham). The ex-soldier has a solid exterior but underneath he hides many flaws – his most notable, a penchant for high stakes gambling, which gets him into a few scrapes along the way. The film is based in Las Vegas which acts as the devil’s playground for Wild.

But Wild is set apart from the average rogue that frequents Sin City because of his desire to deal with henchman and undesirables without the need of a gun. Wild’s martial arts are deadly and razor sharp – the slow motion scenes are some of the best throughout the film with Wild dodging boundless punches, knives and anything else that comes his way.

Maybe the film didn’t receive the press before its release that it warranted because in reflection, Wild Card should have performed a lot better than it did. It definitely has a market for it – although it undoubtedly has its critics too. The action film’s demographic is there; case in point, the aforementioned Fast and Furious 7 triumph. And the gaming industry that Wild Card so often flirts with throughout the film has never been stronger with the likes of poker being extremely relevant in pop culture today.

The gaming industry on a whole in the U.S. is now worth 240 billion according to Business Insider. The industry saw its largest spike when online casino gaming was launched by InterCasino during the inception of online portals way back before the turn of the Millennium. The online industry now equates for more than 50% of that total. So, it proves that there’s definitely a market for this sort of film with the popularity so high still.

Or maybe people are just getting tired of Statham being typecast in the same mundane roles? Either way, moviemakers may think twice before investing such a significant sum of money with Statham as the main star in fear of getting no return.  I’d say it’s up to the powers that be to give him some quality roles with proper promotion to see for sure.

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