Wild Target

Starring: Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Rupert Grint Directed by: Jonathan Lynn

Quick, what comes to mind when you think of a British family business?  Perhaps a tea shop with freshly-baked biscuits aplenty, a haberdashery, or a B&B Fawlty Towers style?  Hang on just a minute – how about a family of assassins?

Victor Maynard (Bill Nighy) is a middle-aged gun for hire with the look of a respectable banker and the neat accuracy of a 007.  For his 55th birthday, his dear old mum (Eileen Atkins) presents him with a scrapbook of articles about his successful kills. Though he hasn't yet got a son to carry on the family trade, he does have a strong reputation within the field.

Until he's hired to take out the devil-may-care Rose (Emily Blunt).  Whether she's riding through a museum on a bike with a basket with reckless abandon and apparent innocence to spare or strolling through town lifting scarves, pocketbooks and clothing at a rate that would make the Oliver Twist gang blush – Rose is clearly a loose cannon.  In a fabulous fashion parade of sky-high stiletto heels and brightly-colored tights.

After pulling the old switcheroo on an art aficionado (Rupert Everett) who thought he was getting a vintage Rembrandt and ended up with a clever fake, Rose ends up on Victor's hit list.  Unwittingly eluding Victor's aim, Rose ends up in the crosshairs of a completely different threat – the bodyguards of the art collector she stuck with the faux Rembrandt.  Of course, things are completely bollocksed up, and errant car wash boy Tony (Rupert Grint) gets pulled into the whole mess after he shoots one of the bodyguards.

Victor can't bring himself to kill Rose – especially after she offers him a nice sum of money to protect her – so he, Rose and Tony go on the lam.

Overall, I found Wild Target quite a laugh.  There are car chases, buffoonery, poking fun at the stuffy British stereotype, a feisty aged parent, a drunken birthday party, an ex-parrot and a humorous rivalry with another hitman (Martin Freeman).

If you:

  • Like British humor
  • Are highly amused by actors playing quite the opposite of another well-known role, such as:
    • Queen Victoria Emily Blunt vs. con woman/thief Emily Blunt
    • Dr. Watson Martin Freeman vs. sadistic hitman Martin Freeman (Cor!!)
    • Ron Weasley Rupert Grint vs clueless assassin in training Rupert Grint
    • Like films where the main schtick is based around unlikely partners in crime (literally!)

Put it in the queue!

If you:

  • Prefer your British crime films to star James Bond
  • Are not amused by characters with a complete disregard for traffic
  • Would find it weird to see Ron Weasley smoking a cigarette in the bath

Don't put it in the queue.

Written by Jennifer Venson