Hollywood's obsession with crime thrillers continues. Reacher is based on the novel One Shot by Lee Child. Justified takes inspiration from the work of author Elmore Leonard. Parker is based on the Parker novels by author Donald Westlake, pen name Richard Stark. And it's not the first time his characters have appeared on the big screen.
Though director Taylor Hackford's previous wide-release effort earned Jamie Foxx a Best Actor award for Ray, Statham and costar Jennifer Lopez probably won't get any award noms. But in the month of January, a solid genre pic more than enough of a reason to visit the Cineplex. Plus, Hackford is a good match for the material since he's great at making a city—Palm Beach, Fla., in this case—a character. Reacher has Pittsburgh, Justified has Kentucky's Harlan County. A staple of any good crime story: great locale.
Also mandatory? Having A-listers like Nick Nolte, Michael Chiklis and Wendell Pierce in supporting roles.
But have you even heard of Parker? We're betting no. So here's our guide!
1. Statham's Parker Isn't the Character's First Time at the Rodeo: Author Westlake's work has been adapted for the big screen before: The first go-round was Point Black starring Lee Marvin, while the second was Mel Gibson's Payback. However, this is the first time Westlake's character has kept the name Parker from the novels. With Statham in the lead we're still rooting for the bad guy, but now his hand-to-hand skills are top-notch. And like Gibson and Marvin, Statham knows how to play a scene with little—or no—dialogue.
2. J.Lo Is Back in Action: Lopez delivered a memorable turn opposite George Clooney in Steven Soderbergh's Out of Sight. Finally, she returns to the crime genre as Leslie Rogers, a divorcée who is behind in her bills. Lopez's Leslie lives with her mom (Patti LuPone), and is pushing 40, but still looks smoking hot in her undies.
3. The Plot Gives One Percenters the Bird: Leslie helps Parker dole out revenge, especially against Palm Beach's super rich. Characters driving luxury cars and living it up in huge mansions should probably watch their backs. More than anyone else, Leslie embodies the dream of living the good life...by any means necessary.
4. Expect Miami Vice-Style Violence: Only Statham with his pit bull determination could put his hand through a knife. On purpose. There aren't a ton of gunfights, but when they do happen be ready.
5. Parker Is a Heist Pic, Sort Of: While there is a big jewel heist for the big finale, Parker sits that one out. In the film's opening, thug lifer Vegas (Chiklis) leaves Parker for dead. Parker intends to return the favor, but only after Chiklis and his crew have done all the dirty work on a score that's worth $70 million. Guess Statham figured he'd done enough of those after The Italian Job and The Bank Job.
Plan on seeing Parker? Are you happy to see J.Lo back in action? Sound off in the comments!