Jason Statham should be this generation's Steve McQueen. Nobody in American cinema is suited to play the steely action movie hero like he is. He's got the rugged physique, the charm, the British working-class hero accent and the ability to make fighting a guy while he has a knife stabbed through his hand seem cool. Most of his movies range from average action fare (The Transporter, Crank) to better-than-average (The Italian Job, The Bank Job, The Expendables) to stupid-but-somewhat-entertaining (Death Race).
Parker doesn't even fall into that last category.
In this lame entry in Statham's filmography, he plays the title character, a criminal with a Robin Hood mentality and an annoyingly infallible disposition. He and a team of mercenary thieves pilfer $1 million from a fair in the decent opening scene, which is hindered only by pointless flashbacks in the middle of the action to scenes of Nick Nolte attempting to force words out of his gargled gullet.
When Parker wants to take his stake instead of pitching it in to help with a more lucrative criminal opportunity, the team shoots him and leaves him for dead beside the road.
So this team is smart enough to plan this meticulous heist without any real
Obviously, Parker (who's apparently an expert in medicine as well) recovers and wants revenge, even though every person he meets warns him to no end about how he doesn't know who he's messing with. He tracks the team to Palm Beach but doesn't know where they are exactly, so he enlists the help of real estate agent Leslie (Jennifer Lopez).
Now, Leslie is divorced, lives with her mother and has never made a full real estate commission. She also happens to be the worst dumb bimbo (real or fictional) to ever exist on Earth. After failed attempts to seduce Parker, she wants in on his action, even though she doesn't really know what his action is. She constantly shows up in the wrong place at the wrong time, is sometimes oblivious to very obvious aspects of Parker's dangerous personality and her "expertise" that she offers amounts to her telling him the name of a jewelry store. Apparently Parker can't use Google.
Statham, Michael Chiklis (whose performance elevates an otherwise-generic bad guy role) and even Lopez are wasted by an awful script and stale direction by Taylor Hackford -- emphasis on "Hack." People will (and maybe already do) say that Statham should step out of his comfort zone. But this movie can't be comfortable for anyone involved. Grade: D+
Follow Pete McQuaid on Twitter @sweetestpete.