Paleo Retiree writes:
Jason Statham and J-Lo directed by Taylor Hackford, in an adaptation of one of Donald Westlake’s “Parker” novels. For me the film straddled the line between “an OK watch” and “an unfortunate misfire.” It’s full of lively action and color — fun high-life/lowlife settings in New Orleans and Palm Beach, and loads of terrific actors in minor roles. But it isn’t very satisfying. With his battering-ram head, his physical prowess and his growling taciturnity, Statham must have seemed like a plausible choice for Parker, but he doesn’t work out very well; portraying an unstoppable, sociopathic, all-dick archetype (embodied in earlier movies by Lee Marvin, Jim Brown and Mel Gibson), Statham winds up looking like a boy playing at being a man. Masculinity today, eh? With J-Lo, it seems that you’re either amused by her childishly bad, cartoonish overacting or you aren’t — in this case, what the heck, I was tickled by it. Hackford can deliver a terrific movie when his trademark juicy-flamboyant realism is appropriate — I loved “Ray,” his recent biopic about Ray Charles. But here his approach seems all wrong, as though he was determined to deliver conventional payoffs of a kind the material isn’t much good for but was clueless about the quirkier potential the material is teeming with. FWIW, I’m one of those people who considers Westlake’s Parker novels to be genius. They feature an absurdist bluntness and matter-of-factness that’s like a fusion of Don Siegel and Robert Bresson; they’re reductionist and brutal to a comic/horrifying extreme; yet they’re also droll, devil-may-care, make-it-up-as-you-go-along shaggy-dog crime yarns.
- The Donald Westlake website.
- A website devoted to the Parker novels.
- When he’s in training, Jason Statham follows what he calls “the anti-social diet.”
- If you’re in the mood for crazy/exciting/hilarious action starring Jason Statham, why not try the brilliant “Crank” and “Crank 2: High Voltage” instead? Here’s some smart stuff by Fabrizio del Wrongo on “Crank 2.”