Generally, the Brits (or “Limey Bastards” as the older folk in America still call ‘em) are more than content with watching French-made movies (subtitles and all — and in the cinemas even!); preferring to manufacture their own versions of popular American reality TV series and game shows rather than desecrating something holy (or at least really neato) like the fine 2006 French thriller Tell No One (Ne Le Dis À Personne) which is being remade in the States, incidentally).
But then, you never know what to expect in this day and age. Case in point: Wild Target, a 2010 British remake of the 1993 French black comedy, Cible Émouvante.
While it’s hard for any one man to fill the shoes of French actor Jean Rochefort, the always-fabulous Bill Nighy (no, he’s not the “Science Guy,” dammit!) takes the lead here as Victor Maynard, one of the country’s top assassins-for-hire. Raised practically from birth by his like-minded mum and dad (the latter of whom was also a professional killer), Victor has been at it for so long that he doesn’t begin to realize how lonely and empty his life is; that is, until his infirm mother (Eileen Atkins) points out that he’ll be 55 soon (the same age her deceased hubby was when Victor was born) and inquires why he’s been single all these years. She also asks her beloved son if he is gay or not — a notion that even Victor has never pondered over, since he’s essentially been married to his work all these years.
Enter the femme fatale — or, in this case Emily Blunt, who plays Rose: a free-spirited, city-dwelling thief and con-artist. Rose has just pulled off a “bait-and-switch” job with a Rembrandt self-portrait on nefarious real-estate tycoon named Ferguson (Rupert Everett, looking just as fine and sexy as he did back in the ‘90s).
As you can imagine, Mr. Ferguson is very angry. He wants Rose dead. And so he hires Victor to execute the job. Unfortunately, Victor’s initial attempts to dispatch the quirky young woman prove unsuccessful. And then, the worst feelings any hitman could ever experience crash into him: fondness and desire. Deciding to protect the light-fingered lass instead of killing her, Victor and Rose attempt to escape Ferguson’s bodyguards, only to meet up a young stoner named Tony (portrayed by Ron Weasley himself, Rupert Grint — who spends a fair amount of time being half-nekkid).