We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
Over the last decade or so, Jason Statham has been making a bid to become the next big international action movie star and has demonstrated that he has most of what it takes to achieve that lofty goal: he has loads of charisma, a sly sense of humor and is one of the few people working in the genre today who can convincingly pull off fight scenes. The only thing that has kept him from becoming a full-fledged superstar is that while he has appeared in some hits (such as the "Transporter" and "Expendables" movies) and a few cult favorites (like the demented "Crank" films), he has yet to find that iconic role that would put him over the top like Clint Eastwood with "Dirty Harry" or Arnold Schwarzenegger with "Conan the Barbarian" (1982) and "The Terminator" (1984).
Unfortunately, his latest effort, "Parker," is unlikely to do much to boost his career. It's another middling effort in which his undeniable presence is unable to elevate the usual mixture of convoluted plotting and grisly carnage. As bland and indistinct as its generic title, this is a film that seems to have been manufactured solely to play in mostly empty auditoriums for a bleak midwinter week or two before evaporating from the marketplace and the mind.
In theory, signing on for "Parker" must have seemed to Statham like a good idea at the time. The film is based on one of the books that the late, great crime novelist Donald E. Westlake wrote under the pseudonym of Richard Stark about the tough-as-nails criminal Parker, whose adventures previously appeared on the screen most famously in John Boorman's neo-noir classic "Point Blank" (1967).
"Parker" has been directed by Taylor Hackford and while his career has been on the quiet side in the last few years, he's still the person responsible for "An Officer and a Gentleman," "Chuck Berry: Hail Hail! Rock 'n' Roll" and "Ray." For a co-star, it has no less a figure than Jennifer Lopez and while some of her cinematic choices of late have been questionable, to put it politely, she has delivered enough good performances to give one hope that she will find another role that lives up to the promise she showed in "Out of Sight" and "The Cell."