Thursday, February 14, 2013


I couldn't find a picture of Jason Statham, so here's another bald bloke looking slightly stern
On Valentine's Day last year, I was full of gloom and had to be cheered up by watching Overboard. This year we wanted to do the opposite, so instead of staying in and watching a scruffy longhaired man in overalls taking advantage of an amnesiac socialite, we went out to the cinema to watch a well dressed bald guy beat some people up, while JLo looked aghast.

I've watched a lot of Jason Statham films in my time. That's not much of a boast, because there are a lot of Jason Statham films. It would be like claiming to be a gourmet just because you've had a lot of hot dinners. And there are more Jason Statham films than anyone has had hot dinners. There are films where he's bald and fights people, and there are films where he's bald and drives cars and fights people, and there are films where he wears a hat that hides his baldness and fights people. Few actors have the range and variety that the Statham demonstrates.

In Parker, Statham's main antagonist is Michael Chiklis, who is also bald, but shorter and rounder, like a terrifying, pugnacious baby; Statham, with that careworn face of his, looks like a man who's grown into his baldness, whereas Chiklis looks like he has yet to sprout any hair at all.

The rest of the cast includes a frankly ruin of a Nick Nolte, Bunk from the Wire, Clifton Collins Jr (who I had to wait for the end credits to confirm it wasn't a seedy incarnation of Robert Downey Jr), a few identikit gangsters and a scary assassin with longer hair. JLo does a great job as a frustrated divorcee who hates her work; having heard of her monumental ego, the role she has here seems incredibly humble.

Unlike A Good Day To [Censored] the dialogue was left intact, so we didn't have to put up with Mr Statham saying "chee petty" or whatever it was they were using as an overdub. They could have done with taping over his "Texan" accent though; a sentence would start with a Southern drawl but you'd never know if it would end up in Hackney or Chicago. Ah, life's little surprises.

Still, having a gory-as-anything fight in a hotel bathroom, and a great hat, make up for some silly accents. This wasn't a film with any great plot surprises (since you see Statham prepare the stage for the closing scene about half an hour earlier) and none of the hyperkinetic fighting that were the mark of the Transporter series, but it's a efficient, well made piece that trundles along happily.

It doesn't leave you hating life like Killing Them Softly might, it wasn't gratuitously horrible and incomprehensible like A Good Day To OVERDUB Hard, and if nothing else, the opening sequence where every rural simpleton in Ohio was corralled together for us to laugh at, in all their cliched glory, was worth the price of admittance.
It's no light Goldie Hawn-centred rom-com, but on some Valentine's nights, you just want to see two bald men trying to smash each others heads in. And what could be bad about that?


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