Eric D. Snider

Parker

Movie Review

Parker

by Eric D. Snider

Grade: C+

Released: January 25, 2013

 

Directed by:

Cast:

As long as there is January, there will be mediocre-but-not-wholly-meritless action movies in theaters, and many of them will star Jason Statham. (The others will star Liam Neeson.) The latest, based on Richard Stark's novel "Flashfire" but unimaginatively retitled "Parker," has Statham playing a professional crook who's seeking revenge on the fellow-crooks who double-crossed him on a job. That scenario is awfully familiar, and so is Parker: he was the protagonist in more than 20 novels, one of which ("The Hunter") has already been adapted twice, as "Point Blank" (with Lee Marvin) and "Payback" (with Mel Gibson). We are not treading new ground here, that's for sure.

Still, as a tasty but un-nourishing rehash, it's not bad. Director Taylor Hackford ("Ray," "The Devil's Advocate") is just good enough to give it a tart, pulpy spin. The Florida setting and glib criminality give it an Elmore Leonard vibe, and the presence of Jennifer Lopez as Parker's civilian accomplice -- a realtor with a nagging mother (Patti LuPone) and a need for cash -- calls to mind "Out of Sight" specifically. Neither comparison does the film any favors, and Lopez grates when she should shine, but Statham and the other fellas (including Michael Chiklis, Nick Nolte, and Wendell Pierce) are good enough at this sort of thing -- i.e., violent nonsense -- to help the time pass agreeably.

Grade: C+

Rated R, abundant harsh profanity, a lot of strong violence, brief nudity and sexuality

1 hr., 58 min.

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