Crap on Jason Statham's acting abilities all you want, but you can't knock the reigning king of loutish action cinema for lack of effort. Whether he's blowing up bad guys with Botox'd buddies, transporting cute Asian girls in the trunk of his Beemer or continually electrocuting himself to stay alive, the British B-movie titan always just goes for it. In Parker, Taylor Hackford's take on crime novelist Donald Westlake's anti-hero (last played by Mel Gibson in Payback), Statham works the angles the best he can, but there aren't many to begin with.
Double-crossed and left for dead after successfully robbing the Ohio State Fair, Parker vows to exact revenge on fellow hood Melander (Michael Chiklis), holed up in Palm Beach with plans to execute a multi-million-dollar jewel heist. Though he reminds us many times over that he lives by a code designed to protect innocents, Parker steals about a dozen vehicles and snookers a few negligibly guilty people on his way to the Sunshine State. The payoff: Statham rocking boots and a cream-colored ten-gallon hat, valiantly attempting his best Texas accent as he tricks unlucky realtor Leslie (Jennifer Lopez) into revealing Melander's hideout. It's as painfully entertaining as it sounds.
Action sequences in any Statham vehicle need to deliver, and Parker's mostly do, despite the movie's sloppy pace, forced romantic plotting and weirdly dated look and feel. Though filmed in 2011, it somehow suffers from all the cornball aesthetic symptoms of a meat-and-taters mid-'90s slugfest, an era Statham would've eased right into if his career had kicked off a few years early.