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Film review: Good action, pokey plot in 'Parker'

Published January 25, 2013 11:32 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

"Parker" delivers what you'd expect when you have Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez on a poster — he kicks butt, she shakes hers — but it's a depressingly static exercise.

Statham plays Parker, the literary creation of the late Donald E. Westlake (under his alter ego Richard Stark), a tough thief with a code that emphasizes no killing of innocent bystanders and no double-crosses. Both happen after a heist at the Ohio State Fair, when his colleagues' mistakes kill a fairgoer and their greed leads them to shoot Parker and leave him for dead.

He recovers and tracks his former crew to West Palm Beach, Fla., where they are planning a massive diamond heist. Parker wants to pinch the jewels from the thieves while also killing them. He enlists a struggling real-estate agent, Leslie Rodgers (that's J-Lo), who rationalizes his plan by saying "everybody steals from somebody."

Director Taylor Hackford ("Ray," "An Officer and a Gentleman") provides some glossy images of south Florida excess, but John J. McLaughlin's script slows the pacing with extraneous characters and a muddled plot.

Statham again proves he's fine putting the hurt on baddies, but flounders during the movie's faltering attempts at romance and drama.

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Opens Friday, Jan. 25, at theaters everywhere; rated R for strong violence, language throughout and brief sexual content/nudity; 118 minutes.