Director: Jonathan Lynn
Starring: Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Rupert Grint, Martin Freeman, Rupert Everett
I always enjoy a good British comedy, with the subtle humor and awkward jokes, and this one perfects it in many ways. Bill Nighy, the ever-versatile Emily Blunt, and Rupert Grint make up a quirky trio that all get involved with a few assassinations which go awry. Enter, Rupert Everett, who runs a hitman for hire service, and decides to call a hit out on all of them for costing him so much money. They run into other hitmen, dispatch them, and eventually form some kind of strange family; nice, right?
I really like this movie, in spite of some obvious flaws. It’s great because it brings together a bunch of familiar faces, who bring a zany edge to a lot of very serious subjects. The essence of a black comedy is that it can build around these grim subjects without being too vile and ‘Wild Target’ did this adequately. Many of the jokes wandered into quite gross territory, without showing too much. The jokes are a little hit and miss, but there are plenty, and have some variety, so it should contain something for everyone. The continuous running joke between Nighy and his mother in particular, about being a family of killers, is humorous and very bluntly done, giving some interesting background to the “protagonist” without going too deep into his grisly past.
On the negative side, first of all, some of the framing techniques and camera angles look very generic, which on its own isn’t necessarily bad, but combine that with some average dialogue and it makes for a lot of bland moments. On top of that there are a lot of scenes that I suspect are filler moments, like the birthday scene for instance, which is neither convincing nor entertaining; we don’t need to see these average party games. Also there is very little point to Rupert Grint’s character – he’s basically there to save people once or twice, panic a lot and offer some awkward comic relief. They do give some hints at making him an apprentice to the Nighy character, but it just feels half-hearted; a plot point which runs its course in about three scenes, doesn’t amount to anything and kinda left me disappointed. Another thing that annoyed me is that there were plenty of well known British talent in this film that made little more than guest appearances; they came and went and added little to nothing to the story.
If you’re tired of the usual tropes of a hitman movie, then watch this. It balances quirky jokes, like one would find in ‘The Office’, with some mild running and gunning. The unimpressive scenes sometimes diminish the story, but only slightly and the acting may be average but everyone nails the comedic side of their performances at least. It isn’t totally forgettable, but it would be something to watch casually and shouldn’t be taken seriously. If anything, when the credits roll you should at least have a smirk on your face, I know I did.