Fox // 2010 // 98 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // February 16th, 2011
A dangerous comedy about having fun. On the run.
Rose (Emily Blunt, The Devil Wears Prada) is beautiful, charming...and one of the best con artists around. Rose's good luck comes to an end when she attempts to swindle savvy businessman Ferguson (Rupert Everett, The Next Best Thing) by switching a famous Rembrandt with a fake. Ferguson is understandably furious and hires anal retentive hit man Victor Maynard (Bill Nighy, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest) to get his money back and dispose of Rose. When the hit doesn't go quite as planned -- including picking up the clueless but impressionable Tony (Rupert Grint, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) -- and Victor finds himself caring for instead of killing Rose, love blossoms in the most unlikely of places...until another hit man (Martin Freeman, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) is brought in to finish the job!
Have you ever come across a movie you just really, really wanted to like? I mean, a movie that you wanted to put your arms around, coddle and tell it, "I think you are just so wonderful and adorable and you make me smile from ear to ear!" Wild Target was that movie for me. I had seen the preview a few weeks ago online and just thought it looked like an absolute hoot. I mean, look at the cast list for crying out loud: Emily Blunt, Bill Nighy, Martin Freeman, Rupert Everett, Rupert Grint...collectively, those are some pretty funny Brits! Directed by fellow Englishman Jonathan Lynn (My Cousin Vinny and the underrated Nuns on the Run), how could it go wrong?
Well, it did. Wild Target is one of the most underwhelming comedies of the year. What should have been a silly, fall down funny romp feels like a slog to get through even at 98 minutes. Considering the talent involved here it's a wonder that no one stopped to notice that the daily footage was looking 'slightly less than interesting' during the production. Bill Nighy's dry, deadpan humor is used to minimal effect (for a better idea of how good he can be see Love Actually or Shaun of the Dead) and Rupert Grint just comes off as a dirtier version of his Harry Potter character, Ron Weasley. Emily Blunt appears to fade into the background in every film she's in and Wild Target is no exception -- while she's a capable enough actress, I just never found much in her performance that had me interested in her character.
If Wild Target has a bright spot it's Martin Freeman (Tim from the BBC version of the The Office) as Victor's assassin rival. I'm not sure who decided that Freeman's character needed a set of pearly white choppers, but they work to humorous effect any time he flashes his enormous Cheshire smile. Whenever Freeman saunters on screen he instantly makes the film amusing; when Freeman isn't around Wild Target is just another run of the mill 'hit man with a heart' flick that has been played out dozens of times before (and to better effect). There are some mediocre car chases, a few lackadaisical fun fights and a lot of only mildly amusing gags (one of the better ones involving Ferguson's henchmen being thwarted by Victor and Rose). One of the funniest bits is an almost background moment when Rupert Everett's character plays the song "Somewhere Out There" (from the movie An American Tail) on his piano.
It's always disappointing when a movie doesn't live up to your expectations, but it's doubly so when it features such a talented cast that is wasted on a dead-on-arrival script and a plot cobbled together from Gross Pointe Blank to The Replacement Killers to everything in between. I won't tell you that Wild Target is a terrible movie but it is a very lazy one that disappears from your memory the moment you turn to another channel.
Wild Target is presented in a very attractive 1080p 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Fox has done a great job at making sure this transfer looks exceptional -- the colors are all evenly saturated with fine detail and solid black levels. I don't have any major complaints here (even if the image doesn't 'pop' like other newer releases). The soundtrack is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0 in English. Fans will be pleased that this mix makes nice use of ambient noises and music as well as aggressive surround sound moments (when needed). The soundtrack utilizes some recent pop hits (and covers) to nice effects. Also included on this disc are English and Spanish subtitles.
The only extra feature included on this disc is a short featurette/interview with actress Emily Blunt titled, appropriately enough, "On Target with Emily Blunt."
Wild Target is a movie that rarely hits its intended mark.
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Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13