I love Jason Statham. He’s a dependable action star, and seeing as Sly, Arnie, Bruce and Jean are past their prime these days, there aren't many heroes left to save the world like they did in the 80s. Other actors have tried to fill the void but over the last ten years the job has been left to The Rock Dwayne Johnson and our very own Jason. Statham’s movies are largely critic proof but just occasionally a less than stellar entry falls through the cracks of his CV, and not even our Jase can crank it up a notch.
Based on the best-selling novel 'Flash Fire' by Richard Stark, Parker is directed by the Oscar-winning filmmaker Taylor Hackford (Ray), co-starring Jennifer Lopez (Out of Sight) and Nick Nolte (Gangster Squad). Statham plays a hardened criminal who will do whatever it takes to get things done. He lives by his own code of ethics, which pretty much translate to ‘don't steal from people who can't afford it and don't hurt people who don't deserve it’. Somewhat predictably, Parker is double-crossed by his crew and left for dead, so once again it's time for payback.
This latest incarnation of Parker – a character already brought to life on the big screen by the likes of Mel Gibson and Robert Duvall – fails to light the blue touch paper. Twenty minutes too long and lacking the necessary intensity, Hackford’s Parker is a stolid affair from start to finish. The action is undercooked and the characters lack bite. Nolte mumbles his way through the entire movie (I can’t remember the last time I understood a word he said) and Lopez doesn’t ‘perk’ things up until almost an hour in. Statham and Lopez work well together and J-Lo still looks good in her underwear, but there’s little else to recommend this bland affair.
Statham is a good choice for the role of Parker but McLaughlin’s screenplay doesn’t give him much to work with. More importantly, I can’t remember the last time I called a Jason Statham movie dull. Silly, over the top and underwritten for sure, but monotonous and sluggish, who would have thought such a thing? The occasional dust-up does hit the mark – usually with a toilet lid – but Hackford’s Parker should have been a little more creative and a lot more fun. AW