Predictably delivers the goods
If you’re cued up to buy a ticket for Jason Statham’s latest film, chances are you know what you’re getting yourself into. Regardless which side of the law Statham’s character finds himself on, he’s going to be the one you’re rooting for. And there will be action, hand-to-hand combat, a damsel in some form of distress, and, uh, more action.
With his latest effort, “Parker,” Statham brings his trademark stubble and steely glare, plus all of the aforementioned requisites. There’s nothing new or particularly noteworthy here, aside from one really well-done fight scene, but action fans will get their money’s worth.
“Parker” is set against the picturesque backdrop of Palm Beach, Florida, and the scenery is as beautiful as the film’s leads. Parker, a top-flight heist expert, is hired to pull off a million-dollar job at the Ohio State Fair. Parker’s two-part motto is this: stand by your word and don’t hurt innocent people. One of the thieves on his crew violates the second rule by carelessly setting a fire in the wrong place that winds up killing a fairgoer. Later, the thieves violate the first part of the motto after Parker declines to donate his take of the heist in order to put together an even bigger score down the road. Parker’s cohorts wind up shooting him and leaving him for dead, and the rest of the movie depicts Parker’s efforts to get even with those who double-crossed him.
About halfway through the film, Jennifer Lopez shows up, and while she’s not a great actress, she makes a pretty good “accidental sidekick.” There’s no denying ‘J-Lo’ has a certain je ne sais quoi onscreen that makes you want to watch her. She’s beautiful—there’s a lingerie scene that proves it—but beyond that she has chemistry with Statham that recalls her work with George Clooney in “Out of Sight.” Michael Chiklis, Bobby Cannavale, and Nick Nolte have nice turns in supporting roles.
It’s anybody’s guess exactly why an Oscar-nominated director like Taylor Hackford (“Ray”) would sign on for a project like this, but maybe he just wanted the work. Regardless of motivation, Hackford brings a sense of style and sure-handedness to the proceedings that is uncommon for films of this genre. And the story, based on a novel by Donald Westlake, has enough going for it to keep the audience interested.
If you’re a Statham fan who enjoys watching Statham do his thing—namely, kicking butt and taking names—then you won’t be disappointed by his latest cinematic foray.
Rated PG-13 for strong violence, language throughout, and brief sexual content/nudity.
(Submitted by Michael S. Bennett)