The British seem to have this whole comedy genre thing down cold, as even a pretty mediocre British comedy still holds enough laughs to warrant a viewing. Wild Target stars Bill Nighy as Victor Maynard, the best assassin in the business, who never leaves a trace of his existence, and always gets his mark.
Raised to be an assassin just like his father and grandfather before him, Victor knows little else, and because of that, lives a very straightforward life of taking jobs, completing them, then ducking away back into seclusion until he’s called upon again. That is, until he’s hired to kill Rose (Emily Blunt), a young petty thief who acts as though her small crimes have no real victim, and thus, lives with no real worries or regrets. Of course, in an attempt to make a big score, Rose crosses the wrong man (Rupert Everett) who then hires Victor to take her out.
While shadowing Rose, Victor slowly becomes infatuated with her lifestyle, and idealistic perspective on life. Fighting his feelings with his professionalism, Victor attempts to finish the job, but ends up saving her life from another hitman who was sent to speed things up. Things get complicated when a third hitman shows up unexpectedly, only to have him taken out by Tony (Harry Potter‘s Rupert Grint), an innocent bystander who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Seeing his quiet life unraveling before his eyes, Victor quickly makes up a cover story that he’s a private detective, and agrees to take them under his wing for protection from the inevitable fallout that will come when his client realizes what he’s done.
Victor is an interesting character, and Nighy was perfectly cast to play him. While the story is the best one that could be told in a way to peel away the layers of the character, it unfortunately suffers on multiple levels that stop it from ever really taking off. Both poor pacing, and plotting plague the film, as well as unexplained, almost drastic, character transitions from one point to the next. One minute Rose wants to run away, and never look back, and the next, she’s completely content with life and never wants to leave. While this partially plays into her naive character, it feels so completely random, unrealistic (not that the film is aiming to be realistic) and just doesn’t flow properly. In short, it lacks the sincerity that would have made the film stronger.
Instead, Wild Target more of a wacky comedy, where things just happen, and the audience is suppose to take it all with a grain of salt. Why did this happen? Well, because it did, now just sit back, relax, and enjoy the movie. The thing is, the movie is enjoyable, to a degree. There are some laugh out loud moments, Nighy really hits it out of the park, and Grint has a solid comedic delivery that makes his character fun to watch; however, the pacing really hinders the film. No amount of jokes will save a movie that keeps you wondering how much time is left.
Wild Target has some good ideas going for it, and a protagonist being played by the perfect actor, and to watch it come up short in so many areas, and waste the talent it had on board, is disappointing. Is it worth watching? Sure, if you like Nighy, Grint, or can’t get enough of the British, no matter what they do, then it’s worth a rental. For everyone else? Well, there are just too many worthy titles out there to settle on a film that misses its target as often as this one does.
The audio is presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, while the video is presented in 2.35:1 Widescreen, and there are no complaints to be had in either department. The accents, for those who have trouble deciphering them, come out clear, and completely understandable, while the picture is clean, sharp, and quite easy on the eyes.
Not completely surprising, the film only has a quick, three minute On Target with Emily Blunt featurette. It’s just a quick interview of sorts with Blunt, where she talks about her character from the film.
Wild Target starts off well, though the weaknesses in the script quickly begin to follow. Though, with solid performances all around, and a decent amount of laughs, the film is a worthwhile rental at most, and even then I’d say that hinges on how much you like those involved.
Fox Home Entertainment presents Wild Target. Directed by: Jonathan Lynn. Starring: Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Reprt Grint, Rupert Everett. Running time: 98 minutes. Rating: PG-13. Released on Blu-ray and DVD: February 8, 2011.
Tags: Bill Nighy, comedy, Emily Blunt, Harry Potter, rupert grint