Victor Maynard (Bill Nighy) is an assassin. A good one. A famous one, so famous that everyone knows what he has done, but so good that no-one knows who what he looks like.
Victor Maynard knows 17 ways to strangle a person – and you thought one decent method would do the trick!
Victor loves his Mum, who keeps all of his clippings and accomplishments in a scrapbook: just like other Mums, though his clippings invariably describe coldblooded killings and assassinations.
Victor is well-dressed, quiet and orderly. He lives alone and is polite to others – even those he is about to kill. He is single.
This all changes when a beautiful female criminal who seemingly has an innate compulsion to cheat, steal, con and manipulate comes into his crosshairs… literally.
Rose (Emily Blunt) is among other things a seller of forged artworks, when Rose diddles the wrong criminal mastermind named Ferguson (Rupert Everett) a contract is offered for her life. That contract is handed to…
…the suspense is killing me…
Oh come on we all know who gets it.
Victor has an inopportune twinge of conscience, or maybe it was another trouser related twinge, but in any case he cannot bring himself to carry out the hit and lets Rose go. Upon arriving home he finds his furious Mother who laments the damage that this inaction will wreak on the family honour. She demands that the right thing to do is to perform the hit for free.
Victor reluctantly agrees, but unbeknownst to all involved new assassins have been bought in, and in the ensuing mess a young bloke named Tony (Rupert Grint) becomes embroiled in proceedings.
The new dysfunctional trio set off on the lam, with Rose asking Victor to protect her from the perceived threat outside, not knowing that her new bodyguard should in fact have topped her already.
By now Ferguson is more pissed than ever and brings in the only assassin seen as the equal of Victor, a man named Dixon (a woefully miscast Martin Freeman). The three fugitives lay low in Victor’s country home, Rose initially resents Victor’s regimented ways and orderly lifestyle, while Victor takes a wide eyed Tony under his wing, hoping to lead him into “the life”, all the while with Dixon and his offsider closing in.
Look I’ve seen it so I know how bland it is, so even if the above stuff does sound vaguely interesting please don’t fall for it. The first 40 minutes lay the table for what might have been a quirky comedy given the right ingredients, but the last 40 minutes are about as good and funny as an episode of Charmed – only without the partially redeeming feature of three surgically enhanced sets of cleavage.
Bill Nighy seems a little rote in his role as Victor even when he should be livening up a little in the latter stages, Emily Blunt could be described as spunky, though her character Rose really doesn’t demand attention, and the Harry Potter kid was in it so that they could say a Harry Potter kid was in it I would think? But the one sore thumb that sticks out more than the others is Freeman as Dixon, he is neither tough nor especially clever, and certainly doesn’t seem a real threat to even the most average of dangerous persons.
I like Freeman as an actor, he is extremely likable in almost every role he has played – that can’t help him when you are supposed to be the Black Hat guy in a film, especially when you are lumbered with some of the worst “jokes”, quotations used very deliberately.
Final Rating – 5 / 10. Wild Target aimed to be a quirky action comedy, if it weren’t for the fact that it fails to provide anything of substance in any of the three categories it very well might have succeeded. As it stands I wouldn’t even bother considering this as even a $1 rental.