(older movie reviews with a fresh coat of paint)
Let me break down this troubling film as best as a critic with bias towards its star can. Jason Statham was born to be an action star. Let me get that straight. The man elicits coolness and command like few men of action in cinema today. He isn’t a monstrous beast like The Rock or calculatingly grumpy like Jeremy Renner, but he gets the job done and is utterly convincing.
Walking out of Parker, Statham’s latest action junkie lovefest session, I was disappointed because the film he was in dragged down the usual delight of this action hero’s work. Playing a modern Robin Hood thief who gets betrayed and left for dead only to rise and exact revenge, Statham is in his comfort zone while adding a little extra as usual, but the plot, supporting cast and length of the film do him no justice.
Hackford can’t decide if he is making “a smart thriller” or “an action slugfest” and bores us with his pace of decision making. The writing does no one any favors and lights a fuse in certain spots which never deliver the needed explosion. Lopez, playing Parker’s helper and a rather ditzy hallow brained real estate agent with connections and a hunger for action, fails in her return to edgier cinema. Gone is the tough girl persona used to perfection in Out of Sight and dropped in here is a diva/actress/singer who looks like her team of publicists and agents thought this would win her back some credibility and threw her into a Statham gunfight. That focus group session didn’t work.
Lopez doesn’t belong here and is a shade of her former self when it comes to ACTING. She doesn’t have a physical gift of kinetic action fury like Statham, so he has to bring something else to the table. Chiklis, slimy and born to play bad, gets nothing going here and struggles with an underwritten bad guy. Introducing a short fat guy in a clown suit hardly does anyone any favors. Nolte swallows a handful of rock and delivers a few lines in his usual gravelly tone. Statham is his usual commanding self, but that isn’t enough here.
The movie delivers a few scenes of solid hand to hand combat expected in Statham flicks. In one particular scene, our hero gets pretty bruised up, which is a change of pace from earlier films depicting the bullet headed Brit as unbreakable. Here, he is more vulnerable and if they had played that up more, a better film may have came out. Instead, the silly slow plot halts every solid action sequence. There’s also too much dead time and buildup for an action film and the finale doesn’t deliver a satisfying payoff.
This is where the critic in me goes “make a damn decision” while the action fan pushes me to recommend it. Unlike Statham’s last film, Safe, this film doesn’t have the backstory to properly set up the characters or the finish to get my stamp of approval. Parker tries to be more and has the right star but falters when the surrounding parties fail to produce a quality platform.
As a Statham fan and action fanatic I was left disappointed. Late in the film, Patti Lupone(playing Lopez’s mother in a tiring subplot) calls Statham “a real man” as he gets bandaged up after a rough brawl. She is 100 percent right. He is a real man and a legit action star. It’s too bad he looks bored and wasted in this snoozer. Parker is only for Statham die hard fans. For the rest, it is a DVD rental.