Reviews: ‘Parker’, ‘Safe’ and ‘Redemption’

by on March 11, 2014

in Entertainment, movie reviews

Jason Statham in Redemption 1

Today’s review is a 3-for-1 set of movie reviews, for movies all starring Jason Statham. And to be honest, you may be very surprised by what I’ve got to say about one of the movies.

Yes, I had a day and decided to play catch up on my Statham movie experience.

As Jason Statham fans all know, Jason came on the scene and got our attention back in the 2002 movie, Transporter.  He’d been in a few before that, but this is when Jason started being the main character in a movie.  And he made a splash with his ass-kicking style and rugged good looks.

I’ve enjoyed most of the films he’s been in, though many of his films are popcorn fun stuff.  Then there’s that “fine” set of movies based on the Crank franchise.  Why, oh why?  Then he did more Transporter movies, a continuing role in The Expendables franchise, a remake of The Mechanic and other fun films.

He also showed up at the end credits of Fast & Furious 6 as the disgruntled brother of the vanquished bad guy, slated to play the major bad character opposite the usual gang of Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel in Fast and Furious 7.  (R.I.P. Paul Walker)

He’s also slated at this time for roles in an upcoming third Expendables film, Heat, Susan Cooper, and a second film in The Mechanic franchise.

Of the three movies I mentioned in the title, Safe came out in 2012 and in 2013, Parker and Redemption came out.

In Safe, “Mei, a young girl whose memory holds a priceless numerical code, finds herself pursued by the Triads, the Russian mob, and corrupt NYC cops. Coming to her aid is an ex-cage fighter whose life was destroyed by the gangsters on Mei’s trail.”

This is nearly a typical Statham movie, where it opens up showing us that Statham is an ultimate fighter who can take a beating before returning the favor and winning his matches.  But before that, he was a cop.

But that’s inconsequential.  In a match that was supposed to lose, and did not, the Russian mob gets angry and takes it out on anyone he know. From that day forward, anyone he befriended or liked, ended up dying.

Then he crosses paths with Mei, who is being pursued by multiple parties interested in her gift to see and retain all numbers that come across her path.

All in all, this is basic, good Statham, and as the story develops, there are some complicated plot points that keep all parties engaged wth each other.  In the end, there’s some sharp subterfuge that helps out the overall ending situation.

Director/writer Boaz Yakin (Now You See Me) did well with this story that could have panned out badly.

– – –

January of 2013 saw Parker hit movie theaters.

Parker starts out with five guys pulling off a small-time heist at a carnival.  But there is greed amongst the group and Parker finds himself on the outs, o the wrong end of a gun.  He then spends his time looking to set things right, and the story moves on from there, in classic Jason mode.

As the plot description says, “A thief with a unique code of professional ethics is double-crossed by his crew and left for dead. Assuming a new disguise and forming an unlikely alliance with a woman on the inside, he looks to hijack the score of the crew’s latest heist.

What surprised me in this movie was the cast, which included Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis, Wendell Pierce, Clifton Collins Jr., and Nick Nolte.

Though it was the typical Statham film, there was a little bit less gratuitous violence than his more popular hits, but when they went to develop Lopez’s character, well, though necessary, I think they could have developed her in a different fashion that took less time.

Otherwise, it’s the usual butt-kicking for the bad guys.

– – –

Later in 2013, Redemption came out in May, starring Jason Statham and Agata Buzek.

This movie was the most fascinating of the three, where Redemption is about a war veteran who comes home, to find hard luck follows him home.  But through a series of interesting events, finds himself on a bit of luck and helps out those who have helped him.

And the plot description, though accurate, is rather misleading, “Homeless and on the run from a military court martial, a damaged ex-special forces soldier navigating London’s criminal underworld seizes an opportunity to assume another man’s identity — transforming into an avenging angel in the process.”

The film starts out as we watch him, homeless and drunk, getting beat on by some thugs.  As he runs from them, looking for shelter, he happens upon an apartment of a man who is away on travel for several months.

He digs in, using the man’s credit cards and car, lands a job that eventually leads to working as a collections guy for the Chinese.  But rather than spending his money on crap, he starts sending money to a soup kitchen that helped him.

Then there’s Isabel, a woman he was separated from through various acts, and he spends some part of the movie trying to locate her.

What I found interesting about Redemption was that this was more a character film, following Statham’s character through various phases of his life in the film, going from AWOL from a horrible event while he was on Special Forces, to being a bum, to assuming the life of an affluent man, and making good use of his situation to help others.

When all was said and done…  well, I’ll let you discover that!

Be it as it may, of the three, this was the better character driven, more dramatic film of the three, while if you’re an action junkie, Safe may take the cake on that one.  Parker was somewhere in between.

As far as scores go, I could score them all an easy popcorn 6, but because Redemption strives to more character than action driven, I’d slap a popcorn 7 label on it.

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