Raised-eyebrow time to see Jason Statham in a role already served by Lee Marvin, Robert Duvall and Mel Gibson. But he’s spot-on casting in the role of master crime writer Donald Westlake’s taciturn and ruthless professional crook, on screen for the first time under the Parker moniker familiar from a shelf load of novels. When his cohorts betray Parker after an elaborate heist, they make the mistake of leaving him alive, so we know that a bloody, inexorable trajectory of revenge will ensue.
Statham is the man for the job, untaxed by performance demands beyond his skill set, while veteran director Taylor Hackford (‘The Devil’s Advocate’, ‘Ray’) dishes out the hurt with crunching precision. Unfortunately, though, the movie can’t quite leave it at that. Jennifer Lopez is actually terrific as a cash-strapped Miami estate agent inveigling herself into Statham’s unfolding scheme, yet her presence brings warmth and emotional empathy, welcome in other circumstances but surplus to requirements here. Overall, it gets by, but bets are hedged when single-minded efficiency and ice in the veins would have been enough.