I ended up seeing this title in one of those frustrating moments where my main choice of feature was either on at the wrong time, had not even been released yet or my friends just flatly did not want to see the same things as I, and so we ended up going to Wild Target as an inoffensive compromise. I was expecting it to be real cheesy and void of humour, especially after having seen the trailer. I was pleasantly surprised!
Okay, when one goes to the cinema with such low expectations, they can only but move in one direction, but nevertheless I have to commend the movie on several points. I thought all the one-liners would have been used up in the trailer (and those that I had seen had seemed tacky at best) but I guess the movie isn't about one-liners. Rather then relying on half cocked jokes, it pulls itself onto its own two feet using situational comedy, which gives it a real British flavour. I heard it compared to the humour of the old Earling Studio movies, which seems like a nice comparison. Actually, on doing a little research, I found that the original story came from a French movie (Cible émouvante, 1993). It's easy to tell from the zany characters, offbeat humour and introspective look on life that it was originally French in theme, but as a story it translates nicely onto a typically British backdrop.
Basically Victor Maynard, a cold hearted hit-man played by Bill Nighy (great performance as always - he's legend!) is a middle aged unmarried killing professional who is beginning to loose his touch. This becomes no more obvious when he fails to make a hit on the sensually beautiful Rose (Emily Blunt). Things start to get complicated for Victor when he finds, not only has he lost the killer instinct, but he also starts protecting her from the men sent to finish the job.
I'm not sure about the Rupert Grint character of Tony. He seems the most out of place in my opinion. I suppose Tony was added to feed in a further dynamic between Victor and Rose and their growing relationship, but for me, this relationship triangle was either not developed fully or just failed outright. Maybe it held more credence in the original French story, but in the English version at least, Tony really does feel like the spare tire as his presence seems unnecessary and the character's attributes hammy. By far the weakest link the movie.
Quirky and light hearted; it may only be a lighter shade of grey rather then a full blown black comedy (12A Cert in Ireland), but still a pleasant surprise if you come to stumble upon it.
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