Parker: Jason Statham Loves the ’80s

by Ethan Alter January 25, 2013 1:44 pm
<i>Parker</i>: Jason Statham Loves the ’80s

Forget the Schwarzenegger dud The Last Stand; the most authentic, ridiculous and overall entertaining '80s action movie throwback in theaters right now is Parker, the Taylor Hackford-directed, Jason Statham-starring big-screen version of the crime novel anti-hero created by Richard Stark (a.k.a. Donald E. Westlake). Although the character has been brought to the screen several times before -- including the 1967 classic Point Blank, starring Lee Marvin, and the compromised 1999 Mel Gibson-led Payback -- this is the first film that has been able to legally use the Parker name. And unlike those movies, it's not an adaptation of Parker's 1962 debut The Hunter, but rather a more recent installment, 2000's Flashfire (although the plot, once again, involves the character being betrayed by his fellow crooks and then embarking on a mission of revenge). But even though it takes place in the period of iPhones and Google, Hackford is very much working in the tradition of seedy Reagan-era crime pictures like John Frankenheimer's 52 Pick-Up and William Friedkin's To Live and Die in L.A.. Here are five ways in which the mostly satisfying Parker clearly loves the '80s.

How Jason Statham Plays it Safe

by Ethan Alter April 23, 2012 1:52 pm
How Jason Statham Plays it <i>Safe</I>

Like a number of action heroes before him -- Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Claude Van Damme to name a few -- Jason Statham gives (fake) fatherhood a try in his latest vehicle Safe, where he plays protector to a young girl (played by Catherine Chan) who is being pursued by the Triads, the Russian Mafia and the New York City fuzz. But don't worry, Statham fans: being in the company of a minor doesn't keep him from doing what he does best -- delivering epic beatdowns to bad guys dumb enough to stand in his way. On a recent publicity tour through New York (where Safe takes place, although Philadelphia subbed in for much of the shoot), Statham spoke to the press about the way he preps for his labor-intensive action movies, whether he's the modern-day Clint Eastwood and why he and Sylvester Stallone had tons of fun making The Expendables 2.

John Cena: The New Jason Statham?

by Mindy Monez March 23, 2009 4:05 pm
John Cena: The New Jason Statham? We're huge fans of Jason Statham around here, so I'm not asking this question lightly. It's just that, as Jason Statham makes more movies and becomes more and more deservedly well-known, after a while he's not exclusively ours anymore. Which is awesome, because The Statham should be the biggest action star on the planet, and I can't wait for that. But everyone seems to be in on the Jason Statham joke now (including him by the way, because he's amazing), so, like I did when Old School propelled Will Ferrell from the Palomino-loving lunatic doctor only a few people I knew quoted outside of his W. sketches to the giant comedy star everyone on the planet loved, I think it's time to let The Statham go off to college to discover himself while I take a new under-appreciated star under my bloggy wing. I've been thinking hard on this, and I've decided my new favorite might just be this John Cena character. Let's discuss this important matter after the jump.

Eight Reasons to Celebrate Homefront This Thanksgivukkah

by Ethan Alter November 27, 2013 6:00 am
Eight Reasons to Celebrate <i>Homefront</i> This Thanksgivukkah

It's being dumped into theaters over Thanksgivukkah weekend with zero promotion and is guaranteed to be in Walmart's discount DVD bin before you finish this sentence, but here are eight reasons to celebrate the existence of the schlocky action picture Homefront this holiday season:

The Expendables 2: Welcome to Con Air 2.0

by Ethan Alter August 17, 2012 6:00 am
<I>The Expendables 2</i>: Welcome to <i>Con Air</i> 2.0

Let's be honest: once you got past the vicarious thrill of seeing all of the major action icons from your '80s and early '90s childhood sharing the screen, The Expendables was a lousy movie. A passion project for writer/director/star Sylvester Stallone -- who threw his body, soul and bank account into the film, even severely injuring himself in the line of duty (check out the pretty good feature-length making-of documentary Inferno, available on Netflix Instant, for the full story) -- the finished film turned out to be monotonous, poorly choreographed and self-serious to the point of parody. Still, the tug of nostalgia proved too strong for most moviegoers and The Expendables became a legitimate late-summer hit, making a sequel inevitable if not exactly demanded. So here comes The Expendables 2, which, if you're judging a movie by its plot, characterizations and internal logic (you know, the little things), is also pretty lousy. Unlike its predecessor though, this one recognizes its inherent stupidity and goes all-in on being the loudest, dumbest and most comically preposterous action movie of the summer. It's even more of a cartoon than that mid-'80s Rambo animated series... and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Safe: It Ain’t Kid Stuff

by Ethan Alter April 27, 2012 5:59 am
<i>Safe</i>: It Ain’t Kid Stuff

There comes a point in the life cycle of every muscle-bound male action hero when he feels compelled to make a movie where he plays protector to one or more young kids. Harrison Ford did it in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Chuck Norris did it in Missing in Action III, Arnold Schwarzenegger did it in Terminator 2 (and, to a lesser extent, in Kindergarten Cop) and Jean-Claude Van Damme did it in Nowhere to Run. Heck, even Jason Statham did it once before in The Transporter 2 and that went over so well, now he's back for a second round.

How Did Killer Elite Disappoint Us? Let’s Count The Ways

by Ethan Alter September 23, 2011 3:17 pm
How Did <i>Killer Elite</i> Disappoint Us? Let’s Count The Ways

Like most movie critics, I've been looking forward to this fall's onslaught of prestige pictures after the summer blockbuster season. From Moneyball and The Ides of March to Melancholia and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the next three months are packed with hugely promising, very serious titles from directors, writers and actors I respect a great deal. But amidst all the high drama, there's always room for a 'splodey, ass-kicking action picture, which is why I've been anticipating Killer Elite since I first caught wind of it in late July.

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, September 4, 2012

by Ethan Alter September 4, 2012 6:00 am
I Want My DVD: Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"C'mon guys! Please guest star on How I Met Your Mother this season? I'm so sick of that show."

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