Jason Statham built his acting career playing hardcore tough guys. This time around, he plays the no-nonsense title character and master criminal in "Parker." The film starts out with Parker being cheated of his rightful share of a successful heist. When he is shot and left for dead by his cohorts, a familiar revenge plot begins to unfold.
Michael Chiklis plays the leader of the criminal gang that betrayed him. Parker plans a systematic payback against everyone involved. Jennifer Lopez is cast as his beautiful but unlikely partner. She becomes the damsel in distress who complicates the entire plan.
The rest of the show is a familiar formula for violent-caper movies. Bloody gunfights, knife fights and fist fights are rampant. The production values and special effects are great, but it's all been done better many times before. Only fans of pointless death and destruction will be rewarded here.
Eek! 'Witch Hunters' left open for sequel
"Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" had barely started before I knew it was going to be a movie to be endured, not enjoyed.
Taking an age-old fairy tale and giving it a modern twist has been done before, but this is just ridiculous. While all the villagers are in dusty rags, H&G; emerge as the prettiest, cleanest and most badass bounty hunters this side of "Django Unchained." If only it had that movie's humor.
It's hard to believe Jeremy Renner (as Hansel) is a two-time Oscar nominee. Perhaps the idea of pulverizing witches and brandishing automatic weapons (in medieval times!) sounded like fun when he signed up, but it doesn't look like anyone's having fun here. They're as bored as we are.
The dialogue is dull, the plot pedestrian and the 3D effects pointless. There are only so many ways to squash someone's skull. The most frightening moments were at the end: They left it open for a sequel.
Two hours of this mess cannot compare with the 1954 Looney Tunes classic, "Bewitched Bunny." In just under seven minutes Bugs Bunny rescues the kids, outwits the witch and gets the girl. He's even won an Oscar — take that, Jeremy Renner!
JOHN DEPKO is a retired senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office. He lives in Costa Mesa and works as a licensed private investigator. SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa and is an executive assistant for a company in Irvine.