Jason Statham is such a charismatic force-of-nature presence that it’s painful to see his considerable kick-ass talents pissed away on middling C-grade junk. Seemingly born a couple decades too late, he’s a natural movie star who could have shared the Action God throne with the big three, Arnie, Sly and Bruce, in the gloriously pumped-up ’80s and ’90s. Imagine him occupying his own crazy Total Recall, Rambo or Die Hard picture, as opposed to Killer Elite, Transporter or The Mechanic. Ah, what might have been…
His latest, Parker, doesn’t even come close to reversing this woeful trend. A limp, bottom drawer adaptation of Donald E. Westlake’s beloved literary antihero – who previously shot up the silver screen in 1967’s Point Blank and 1999’s Payback – this film is perhaps the worst entry in Statham’s not-exactly-stellar filmography since 2007’s atrocious War. I’ll leave you to ponder that one for a minute.
Sleepily directed by Taylor Hackford (Ray), Parker casts Statham as a low-level thief who, during a daring daylight costumed county fair robbery, is double-crossed and left for dead by his crooked associates, headed by The Shield’s Michael Chiklis. Hell-bent on revenge, the rapidly recovered bastard-with-an-honour-code tracks his dangerous quarry to Palm Beach, Florida, where they’re planning an even larger con. Aiding Parker on his brutal quest is struggling real estate agent Jennifer Lopez, who yearns to gather enough cash to move out of her wacky mother’s house. Obviously, it goes without saying that, by film’s end, bullets will have been unloaded en masse, necks snapped and middle-aged sex symbols disrobed. Not necessarily in that order.
1 out of 5
*Originally published at BeatRoute Magazine.