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Gorging on Movies

"Parker" is classic Statham

Columbia Cinemas has three new movies ("Identity Thief," "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" and "Parker" on the bill this weekend, plus a couple of well-regarded hold-overs in "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Life of Pi."

We chose "Parker" starring Jason Statham because it's something we can all agree on. The movie is based on a series of books of the same name written by Donald E. Westlake writing as Richard Stark.

After a long work week, Statham is a date night go-to because we can disconnect our brains and just let nonstop action and Statham's gravelly British accent wash over us. If anyone on screen today falls into the Charles Bronson mode, it's Statham -- cool, tough and just a bit inscrutable.

He has earned his bread and butter playing bad guys with a code of honor surrounded by amoral thugs in movies such as "Snatch" and "The Transporter." "Parker" follows in the same mode.

The plot is simple. Statham plays a thief who knocks over the Ohio State Fair for a cool million, but his partners double cross him when he won't turn over his share of the take to bankroll an even bigger heist. They leave him for dead in a roadside ditch but not so fast. A family of tomato farmers pull him out and take him to the hospital for his gunshot wounds, where he promptly escapes to avoid the police.

The rest is purely escapist revenge fare, as Statham, recovering like lightning from a series of violent encounters that would fell Jack's giant (coming soon), embarks on plans to exact a penalty from the dishonorable thugs by stealing their big heist. He is helped in this endeavor by Jennifer Lopez, playing a down-on-her-luck Palm Beach realtor who jumps on Statham's coattails for a chance to escape her downtrodden life.

We always enjoy a good Statham action flick, but "Parker" didn't deliver anything we weren't expecting. Michael Chiklis' talents go a bit wasted as the leader of the thugs, but it's nice to see Nick Nolte as Statham's mentor.

"Parker" is rated R for language, nudity and lots of violence, so leave the kids at home. If you'd like Statham in something more family friendly, it's a tough find, but he is the voice of Tibalt in "Gnomeo & Juliet."

If you'd rather watch from your own armchair, you can put together a pretty good Statham marathon off Netflix streaming with options like Guy Ritchie's "Revolver" and "Snatch" (Brad Pitt steals the show as a nearly unintelligible gypsy boxer), plus "Killer Elite," "Blitz," "Death Race 2," and "The One," starring Jet Li. You can also catch Statham fighting his way through fantasy fare starring in "In the Name of the King."

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