CHICAGO – Mention the name Harry Lennix, and images of his many character roles are bound to emerge – Harold Cooper in the TV series “The Blacklist,” General Swanwick from “Batman v Superman” and Commissioner Blades from Spike Lee’s recent “Chi-Raq.” The deeply knowledgeable Lennix brings his years of dramatic expertise, as he directs the Congo Square Theatre Company’s world premiere stage play “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red.’
Film Review: Jason Statham Steers Convoluted Tale as ‘Parker’
CHICAGO – The Jason Statham “character” has served the actor well through a substantial action movie career. But as situations to fit his stoic British kick-ass persona start to drift away, Statham is left with messy narratives like in his new film “Parker,” co-starring Jennifer Lopez.
This scenario wants to be more clever than the usual Statham action movie – the title character is based on a series of best sellers by Donald Westlake – but the complexity of multiple characters and criminal enterprises dilutes itself by the end, and co-star J-Lo is reduced to a snooping neighbor-type to assure that she will be part of the action. Every circumstance in the film seems forced, but there are some moments, including the unintentional comedy of the British native Statham trying on a Texas accent. “Parker” is nothing more than an okay popcorn movie, and doesn’t even get much star power out of a cast that includes Michael Chiklis, Patti Lupone and Nick Nolte.
Parker (Statham) is part of a heist team that oddly hits the Ohio State Fair in Columbus. After that action goes down, the loot is commandeered by Melander (Michael Chiklis), who wants to use it in another, bigger Florida jewel robbery. That doesn’t fly with the honor-among-thieves code of Parker, who wants his fair cut, and after a vicious gun battle he is left for dead at the side of the road. After being cared for by some good samaritans, Parker escapes the hospital to exact his revenge, and calls for help from his lover Claire (Emma Booth) and her mob-connected father Hurley (Nick Nolte).
The heist gang finds out that Parker has been resurrected, and calls for a Chicago hit man to kill him through the Windy City syndicate that will eventually fence their jewelry haul. As everyone heads to Florida, enter Leslie (Jennifer Lopez) a broke real estate agent in Palm Beach who suspects her new Texas client (Parker in disguise) isn’t what he seems. She calls him out, and wants a cut of anything he can get from the jewel thieves. The robbery is happening at an auction, and the characters are destined to collide there.
Photo credit: FilmDistrict