Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

January 29, 2013

CALLERI: Jason Statham scores in 'Parker'

Niagara Gazette — For movie fans, the month of January is the doldrums, and the past few weeks have seen a rash of less than satisfying motion pictures. The major studios had so little faith in these films that they refused to screen them for critics across the country.

Most of these January releases fail at the box office and disappear quickly. Chances are you haven’t rushed out to see recent studio efforts such as “Gangster Squad,” “Broken City,” “The Last Stand,” “Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters,” “A Haunted House,” “Movie 43,” or “Race 2.”

I saw “Gangster Squad” and “Broken City” in virtually empty theaters after they opened. Neither merit your attention. Tossed in with these lackluster performers were “Mama” and “Parker,“ neither of which were pre-screened, but they are a cut above the typical January junk. I reviewed “Mama” in last week’s Night & Day.

“Parker” also deserves your attention. Although “The Expendables” proved that there is still some love for older action stars, the truth of the matter is that audiences always enjoy cheering for someone new.

Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger promises to make more films (he’s currently in “The Last Stand”), Sylvester Stallone has the unfortunately-named “Bullet To The Head” coming up, and Bruce Willis will be back soon with a fifth “Die Hard” movie. But eventually these action-oriented gentlemen will have to stop making films. They may never retire. They’ll simply fade away. Who will replace them?

That fellow is already here. He’s Jason Statham.

I'm a huge fan of “The Transporter” and “Transporter 3” (“Transporter 2” not so much), the very good movies featuring the extreme driver Frank Martin, played by Statham, the former British Olympic diver and self-avowed street hustler. I enjoy most of his work, especially the first “Transporter,” which is a nearly perfect action picture, as well as “The Bank Job,” one of my favorite heist films. Even when he’s in a supporting role, as with “Cellular,” Statham brings his usual rough, taciturn masculinity to his role.

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