Parker [Blu-Ray] Taylor Hackford

Parker [Blu-Ray] Taylor Hackford
3
There's absolutely a film franchise to be found in Donald Westlake's book series about a criminal with a heart of gold and strict code of ethics. Mission Impossible meets Robin Hood as hairy-chested film noir? Ka-ching. It didn't snowball with Point Blank (with Lee Marvin) or Payback (with Mel Gibson), both adaptations of the first Parker adventure, so this woefully mediocre take on later/ novel Flashfire isn't going to propel the character any deeper in the cultural zeitgeist. Jason Statham is the latest actor to try his hand at the no-nonsense thief and it's tailored by Taylor Hackford to suit the stiff-jawed star. Now, the Devil's Advocate director will claim this wasn't the case, that he forced Statham to adapt to the role, but that just means he insisted on having him get more bloodied up than he's used to as a near-invincible action star. Also, in his feature commentary track, Hackford claims that the anti-hero archetype is unique to this character, so he's not exactly dealing from a full deck. Like in previous cinematic incarnations, Parker is double-crossed by his partners during a heist and he spends the story trying to balance the scales — plenty of opportunity for classic Statham hard-knuckle action antics. Amid the efficient action beats, the stern-browed actor gets a chance to stretch his wings a bit without taking any risks; Parker likes to play dress-up, so Statham is given the appearance of flirting with the edges of his comfort zone without having to dredge up any pesky emotions. To reach a wider demographic, Jennifer Lopez is introduced as an annoying and wholly unnecessary sidekick. She eats up screen time to justify her inclusion on the marquee and does little other than help our hero find the bad guys' hideout (Michael Chiklis is the scenery chewing mastermind) and add awkward sexual tension by barking up the tree of a man in a committed relationship. There's nothing especially memorable about Taylor Hackford's Parker; even with a few decent fight scenes, it's still bargain bin material. In addition to the director's commentary, a generic "Making Of," some talk about putting the project together and a segment on one of the riskier stunts (performed by Statham, of course) make for bonus content as unremarkable as the feature. (eOne)