Friday, January 25, 2013

Parker Movie Review

Jennifer Lopez and Jason Statham (r) star in Parker

From our friends at DC Film Review...

JLo Sinks Parker

There’s a point in Taylor Hackford’s Parker when an otherwise enjoyable movie turns into an ugly mess... The introduction of Jennifer Lopez as a down-on-her-luck real estate agent, who crosses paths with a professional thief bent on revenge. I’ll give you a minute or two to stop laughing. I’ve been reviewing movies for four years now, and I can’t recall a more drastic turn for the worst. Before you accuse me of JLo-bashing, allow me to remind you that I think she’s one of the most likable actors in Hollywood. That said, Lopez’s performance is hands-down awful. Outside of her incredible ability to maintain an AMAZING figure, I can’t find a single good thing to say about her in this film.

Hang on, because there’s plenty of blame to go around in this one. For starters, there’s no reason to have Lopez’s character involved in the first place. Jason Statham was doing a banner job exacting revenge on the dumbest set of crooks you’ll ever have the misfortune of watching on the big screen. Why grind the film to a complete and sudden halt, to introduce another lead character that adds nothing to the story? Worse yet, Hackford spends an eternity showing her misfortunes (she lives at home with an overbearing mom, she can’t make her first sale and her car just got repossessed... I won’t bore you with the sad tale of her divorce; but rest assured, she does (much to Parker’s chagrin.) I’m sure there’s more, but I nodded off before a loud noise (Parker was tossing some dude off a hotel balcony) woke me.

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: Set amidst the unparalleled wealth and glamor of Palm Beach, Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez team up to get their cut in the crime thriller PARKER based on the series of bestselling novels by Donald E. Westlake. The film is directed by Academy Award (R) nominee Taylor Hackford (Ray) and also stars Michael Chiklis, Wendell Pierce (HBO's The Wire) and Academy Award nominee Nick Nolte.

Director: Taylor Hackford. This is the same guy who directed An Officer and a Gentleman, The Devil's Advocate and Ray? It’s hard to fathom.

What’s Best: Statham is terrific: Why can’t he just make Transporter sequels, instead of these half-hearted riffs? I actually enjoyed Parker & company’s Ohio State Fair heist... right up to the point where Parker gets double-crossed, after refusing bad guy Michael Chiklis’s offer of taking part in ‘The score of a lifetime. Guaranteed.’ Who talks like that anymore?

The Transporter (er... Parker) plays a great priest, and even has time to inject moments of humor (such as calming down a nervous security guard, mid-caper) in between ass-kickings. Statham remains one of the best action stars, because he’s believable and more importantly... proficient at beating people up.

What’s Not: I think we covered Lopez, didn’t I? Chiklis out-Commish’s himself, when a heaping tablespoon of The Shield would have been more appropriate. His cohorts (Wendell Pierce, Clifton Collins Jr. and Micah A. Hauptman) are even worse; and then there’s Nick Nolte, who needs to give up the whole “tough” guy routine/gravelly voice... He’s 71: Time for a new course.

Best Line: Parker tries to spare one of his victims (trapped beneath a chair) from making it harder on himself, ‘Then there’s the posthumous embarrassment of getting killed by a chair!’ You can’t say Parker doesn’t have a heart.

Overall: This review would have been a different story, had the movie ended after 45 minutes. Unfortunately, Hackford & Lopez crash their own vehicle... ruining another sterling turn by Statham in the process. Here’s hoping Statham’s next ride is as Frank Martin (and that Hackford & Lopez are nowhere to be found.)

Grade: D