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Action impresario Jason Statham reprises his typical fare in Parker. In his latest, thrill-a-minute, blood-drenched, knife-wielding, gun-toting, martial arts-laden action flick, Statham plays the film’s infallible yet believably banged up anti-hero, Parker. Heavy hitters such as Nick Nolte and Jennifer Lopez take on roles which belie their tenured success and seem more befitting the earlier stages of their careers.

Then again, if Robert De Niro is content making Fockers films, JLo is perfectly justified in undertaking the role of a broke, divorcee real estate agent who can’t catch a break. Lopez’s character, Leslie, is willing to risk what little she has going on (namely her life) for a complete stranger.

A bold decision by director Taylor Hackford was to not entirely give Lopez the romantic interest title while gifting her with a superfluous sidekick role. Of course, Lopez can’t help but sizzle on screen, especially after her impromptu striptease at the behest of Parker for practical purposes.

Hackford’s decision to cast Lopez in such an unaffected, every-woman role had even the American Idol megastar stumped. In the production notes for the film, Lopez said, “I asked Taylor why he wanted me to play this character. She’s not exactly what people think of me. And he told me that was exactly why he wanted me.”

Parker selfishly pursues his singular ideal of having honor among thieves by seeking revenge for a job gone wrong. Among the band of bad guys on which Parker unleashes his ire is Melander, played by Michael Chiklis. Chiklis transforms into the conventional villain and once again eclipses the jovial, benevolent persona he built as Commissioner Tony Scali on The Commish.

Although Statham plays a Robin Hood-esque caperer, who declares, “I don’t steal from people who can’t afford it, and I don’t hurt people that don’t deserve it,” the thrills can’t overcome the banality of the plot. The film is based on late author Donald Westlake’s Flashfire and follows the typical lone hero plot of a man willing to die for his ideals and ruthlessly fight to protect those he inadvertently put in danger for his principles.

The former British Olympic diver always delivers on his action roles, but it doesn’t detract from the staleness of Statham’s typecasting. He plays gritty well and equally believable as his aloof lover with a tender heart routine, but Statham’s stable of tricks don’t appear to venture outside this realm. Hollywood is known to run a successful formula into the ground but as long as audiences deliver in ticket sales, Statham will continue to deliver ferocious fight scenes wrapped up in wanton moments of T and A.