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Movie Review: 'Parker' -- 2.5 stars

Jennifer Lopez and Jason Statham in "Parker"

Jennifer Lopez and Jason Statham in "Parker" Credit: Jennifer Lopez and Jason Statham in "Parker"

2.5 stars
Directed by Taylor Hackford
Starring Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte
Rated R

Jason Statham gets one of his best roles in "Parker," the latest big-screen incarnation of author Donald E. Westlake's famous character.

From director Taylor Hackford ("Ray"), this adaptation sacrifices the grit of, say, Mel Gibson's "Payback" for the glamour of a West Palm Beach, Fla., setting and Jennifer Lopez, co-starring as the world's sexiest 40-year-old real estate agent who lives at home with her mother.

Hackford knows how to craft a genre movie and his stylistic approach nearly works. But the prettiness and "Thomas Crown Affair" tack ultimately conflict with the primal urgency required to pull off this revenge story.

There's simply not enough juice to Parker's quest for justice after he is double crossed and left for dead by his partners following a heist.

As played by Statham, who's as intense and tough-minded as ever, there's never any doubt that Parker will find his way to the $200,000 he's owed, or that many people will die in the process.

En route, the character is given multiple chances to get back his money and end the violence. But he refuses on principle, which is hardly the most compelling motivating factor when it comes to inspiring audience investment.

Further, the flick is too conventionally "cinematic," as its polished visual blend of sprawling Florida luxury and tightly-wound action clashes with the B-movie core of the story.

"Parker" is a serviceable action-thriller and there's certainly more artistic integrity to it than your everyday down-market January multiplex fare.

But this is classic grindhouse material pretending to be something it's not.

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