Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte, Michael Chiklis, Clifton Collins Jr. DIRECTED BY
Taylor Hackford SCREENPLAY
Donald E. Westlake (Novel), John E. McLaughlin MPAA RATING
Rated R RUNNING TIME
118 Mins. DISTRIBUTED BY
If not, you may be in for a long two hours with Jason Statham's latest action flick, Parker, a film about revenge that has virtually no other reason to exist. The film is based upon the novels of Donald E. Westlake, as was 1967's Point Blank and 1999's Payback starring Mel Gibson. For those not in the know, the leading man in the novels really was known by the last name of Parker and this is the first that a film has had the privilege of actually being able to use it.
Not surprisingly, Westlake is dead. Otherwise, he'd have been just as protective as usual as this film is pretty much dead on arrival and it's obvious almost from point one. Parker (Statham), the character, is a bit of a bad guy with an ethic. He doesn't steal from those who can't afford it and won't hurt anyone who doesn't deserve it - unfortunately, his nowhere near as moral gang doesn't have the same value system and our film kicks off with said gang betraying him then leaving him for dead following a heist at the Ohio State Fair. The gang, led by an over-the-top Michael Chiklis, is headed to Palm Beach to pull of a big jewel heist and Parker plans to be there waiting for them despite the advice of a kinda sorta mentor (Nick Nolte) and the inexplicable involvement of a failing Palm Beach real estate agent (Jennifer Lopez) whose presence makes no sense for the film other than to finally make all of us forget about Gigli.
Parker actually has a decent mid-section when, ironically, the film is in the Midwest and everything that's going on makes sense without the stupidity and sub-moronic dialogue that seems to dominate the rest of the film. It's about the time that Lopez enters the picture that Parker screeches to a halt and becomes nothing more than an excuse for non-stop violence and corny dialogue. Even at her worst, Lopez seems to try to play empowered and substantial women. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen here as the camera seems obsessed with her derriere and her character, Leslie, may very well end up being one of the dumbest women to be captured on the big screen this year. Even worse, Lopez doesn't even look comfortable here with her performance coming off as so awkward and off-paced that she causes almost every scene she's in to feel out of sync.
John J. McLaughlin's script is laughably bad, while David Buckley's original score can't seem to find any solid footing and sure doesn't seem to be existing in the same film as the ensemble cast. While there's no doubt that Statham is fully capable of successfully playing a semi-emotionally resonant action star, this story of vengeance and the "good" bad guy getting even is all histrionics and instantly forgettable.