Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

January 29, 2013

CALLERI: Jason Statham scores in 'Parker'


Niagara Gazette — Parker is the creation of crime novelist Donald E. Westlake, writing under the pseudonym Richard Stark. The character has appeared in 24 novels and in some movies, the most interesting of which is John Boorman’s “Point Blank” from 1967 and starring Lee Marvin and Angie Dickinson. The new “Parker” is based on the book “Flashfire.”

As all believable major characters should, Parker creates an allure for the audience, which has to be willing to go along for the ride, in this case, a ride involving nasty crooks and deadly gunmen. Parker is a thief, but he lives by a serious code of conduct. Steal only from the rich, obey his rules, and don’t ever double-cross him. He may be violent, but that’s because he’s a man of few words. However, violence is a last resort for him. The fictional Parker doesn’t always want to, but if he has to, he will take apart his enemies.

The good-looking movie (J. Michael Muro did the cinematography) has an early heist at the Ohio State Fair that goes sour, which will compel Parker to seek revenge on the gang that tried to kill him. The film then moves to Palm Beach, Florida where Parker learns of what would a bigger and better heist, $50-million in jewels. But he’s torn between getting even with those early betrayers or becoming really, really rich.

There’s an interesting mix of characters, including a low-life played by Michael Chiklis and a real estate broker whose daily existence is so dull that she wants in on the Palm Beach score. She’s played by Jennifer Lopez, who is quite good here. Chiklis is always enjoyably scary. A delightful Nick Nolte is a crusty old-timer with good ideas for making illegal money.

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