Hollywood most often portrays Las Vegas as a sexist, neon-lit den of broken dreams. The most recent such portrayal, Wild Card, shows the Strip as a place where women are only important when they’re serving men, or being saved by them. Not the stuff of great cinema, but true to form. Wild Card’s specific sin is that it makes Las Vegas culpable in these story notes.
Let’s do a quick roundup of the female “characters” in the film: There’s a maid; a blackjack dealer; a waitress; the woman our main character is paid to con; and our main character’s former lover (Dominik García-Lorido), whose rape propels the story into motion. Every woman here exists to help the plot, or to reveal more of the character of Nick Wild (a sad Jason Statham, pictured). These women are more than submissive female clichés, they’re pulling double duty as barely sketched Vegas stereotypes, all blithely happy to console any ex-military wing chun expert who happens to stumble by.
The female lead’s storyline as a rape victim seeking revenge is rushed, both emotionally and literally. As García-Lorido’s character exits the plot and the film pivots toward its final act, our hero blames Las Vegas for the pain he and his former lover have endured, calling the city “an infection.”
What do the actors think about Wild Card’s outlook on Vegas? According to García-Lorido, they “only filmed in Vegas for a week,” only using the city for its exteriors. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.