Watch: Jason Statham follows in the footsteps of Lee Marvin and Mel Gibson in ‘Parker’

Richard Stark wrote 24 novels about Parker, and yet we’ve got no less than three film versions of the first book now, including Taylor Hackford’s “Parker,” where Jason Statham will step into the shoes once filled by both Lee Marvin (“Point Blank”) and Mel Gibson (“Payback”) in previous adaptations.

At some point, I’d love to hear the story of why this one particular novel keeps getting adapted while the rest of the series, which contains some truly remarkable books, has yet to really be mined as source material.  Sure, Godard adapted one of the books loosely as “Made In USA” in the ’60s, and there was another French film called “Mise a Sac” that used “The Score” as source material, also in the ’60s.  Jim Brown played a renamed version of Parker in “The Split,” and Robert Duvall played a renamed Parker in “The Outfit”.  But we’re talking about 24 books, and just a handful of movies.  That’s crazy.

I don’t think Taylor Hackford’s new film looks like a literal remake of either “Point Blank” or “Payback,” and I’m curious how much of the original they use in the film written by John McLaughlin.  Jennifer Lopez plays a pretty big part in the film, looks like, and it makes me think of “Out Of Sight” in what we see in the trailer.  That’s a good thing, because I love “Out Of Sight,” and it looks like maybe this is the sort of material that suits Lopez the best.  There’s a pretty great supporting cast in the film, including Nick Nolte, Clifton Collins Jr., Michael Chiklis, Wendall Pierce, Patti LuPone, and lots more familiar faces, and that’s encouraging.  Stark (the pseudonym of author Donald Westlake) wrote great supporting characters, and they give actors opportunities to really dig in and play something rich and fun.

Statham looks like he’s having a good time here, and I’m instantly obsessed with his terrible southern accent.  Best thing ever, except maybe for his pronunciation of “Machinima” in the intro to the trailer.  I guess this and “Movie 43” are both landing on the same weekend in 2013, but they look more interesting than your average January dump.  Who knows?  Maybe this year January can deliver some pleasures for once instead of the leftover lumps of coal it so often hosts.

“Parker” arrives in theaters January 25, 2013.