Posted by Frederik Sisa at 14.12.11
If there’s any astonishment to be had from this little comedy, it lies in the way it manages to deliver some amusement despite employing all the clichés involved in the story of a hit man who falls for his intended target and subsequently turns on his client. Then again, when you have Bill Nighy as a well-mannered assassin in thrall to his mother and the family business, it’s not that surprising that Wild Target gets close to the bullseye every so often. Co-stars Rupert Gint, playing Ronald Weasly without the Potter character’s wit or pluck, and Emily Blunt as the erstwhile and rather obnoxious victim, are well-matched to Nighy in delivering the shenanigans, yet also unable to rescue the film from mediocrity. The trouble is that the film employs not only a lighter shade of black comedy but a morally superficial, even juvenile, sense of humour. At its best, black comedy highlights the absurdities in our human response to horror and tragedy. Wild Target relies on its cheapest manifestation, in which the tragic, horrific, or otherwise unpleasant is itself the punchline. Thus, the murder of an innocent woman mistaken for the intended victim is played as slapstick and then promptly forgotten. Only the film’s cheerfulness manages to compensate, in part, for these lapses although it might be more accurately described as glossing over. It’s enjoyable enough as a rental, but for a really funny and clever take on the hit man and his unwitting accomplice, The Matador starring Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear would be a better option.