Wild Target (2010) – By Duane L. Martin

Victor Maynard (Bill Nighy) is an assassin…with issues. His father was a professional assassin, and his now elderly, wheelchair bound mother insists that he be at the top of the profession, which he had fully achieved. His pursuit of this goal had also turned him into a solitary loner, living in a big, beautiful, spotless home, with no one in his life to share it all with, especially now that his mother was living in a home. This all changes though, when he’s hired to kill a girl named Rose, who scammed an rich man named Ferguson by selling him a bogus copy of a famous painting. In his stalking of the girl, he finds himself thwarted time and time again by location and circumstances, but during his time of observing her, he begins to find her careless disregard for the law and free spirit quite charming.

When he can’t bring himself to do the job, not only does he take flack from his mother, who’s highly disappointed in him, but Ferguson decides to send his own goons to take care of her. This led to a confrontation in a parking garage where one of the goons ends up dead, while the other goon is shot by a young man named Tony (Rupert Grint) who just happened to be nearby when it all went down, saving Victor’s life. Rose then hires him to protect her, not knowing that he was originally there to kill her, and suddenly the tree find themselves on the run, trying to lay low and avoid the new hitman that Ferguson has hired to kill all of them. Now Victor has some baggage that he hadn’t planned on. A frustrating girl a new apprentice, and a disruption to his normal life and routing that begins to show him that there have been some aspects of this life that he had been sorely missing.

I was originally drawn to this film because Rupert Grint was in it. As a long time Harry Potter fan, I’ve really enjoyed his performances over the years, so I really wanted to see how he was in something outside of the Harry Potter franchise. Let me just say, I wasn’t disappointed. This film is far and away one of the best films I’ve seen in a really long time and has become one of my all time favorites.

While the story of the hitman falling in love with his female target, ultimately protecting her from the people who wanted her dead is nothing new, this film took that two a whole new level in two ways. First, these stories don’t usually involve a third person. Typically these stories always devolve into the tired old cliche of the hitman and the girl on the run, and that’s it. Second, usually the film ends up with the hit man taking out the rich guy who originally hired him at the end of the film. In this film, the rich guy is taken out of action around the middle after he’s put in the hospital after a car chase. The final showdown here is with the other hitman he hired. See, that hitman is #2 in the profession, and he’d like nothing more than to knock off #1.

What really makes this film shine, aside from the brilliant writing, are the characters and the awesome way they’re performed by an incredibly talented cast. They came off as natural and believable and really gave us people to care about. Not only that, but they were fun. They had personalities that made it not only enjoyable to watch them progress through the film in and of themselves, but it also made it fun to watch how they interacted and developed relationships with each other.

Something else that made this such a spectacular movie is the absurdity of it. Many of the situations that come up with have you laughing and saying, "Holy crap! Duuuuude!" There are several parts of the film that will have you reacting this way, mostly revolving around Rupert Grint’s character Tony and Victor’s mom Louisa, who was played brilliantly by Eileen Atkins.

When a film makes you laugh, makes you feel for the characters and lets you walk away from it feeling like you just had a phenomenly great time, then you have an absolute winner. What more could you possibly ask for? This is definitely one you’ll be wanting to add to your collection.
This film is available on DVD & Blu-Ray at all the usual outlets.