DVD Tuesday: ‘Parker Lewis Can’t Lose’ & ‘Stone of Destiny’

by W. Andrew Powell

Parker Lewis Can't Lose

Parker Lewis Can't Lose

Revisit your high school days this week with the first season of Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, which finally lands on DVD. Plus, Charlie Cox stars in Stone of Destiny, while Kristin Kreuk kicks some butt in Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li.

Parker Lewis Can’t Lose: The Complete First Season
When I was in high school I don’t think I looked up to anyone more than MacGyver and Parker Lewis. While MacGyver has been available on DVD for a while now, and signalled the end of the 80s, it has been a long wait for my favorite teen comedy that really signalled the start of the 90s.

Parker Lewis Can’t Lose hit the air back in 1990, and starred Corin Nemec as the stylish, always cool Parker Lewis. With his friends, Mikey Randall (Billy Jayne) and the dorky assistant Jerry Steiner (Troy Slaten), the trio of best buds fought their way through Santo Domingo High School while trying to keep Principal Musso (Melanie Chartoff), off their heels as they got into trouble time and again.

With clever storylines, comedic over-the-top action, and it’s cast of amusing young actors, Parker Lewis is still one of my all-time favorite sitcoms. It’s absolutely refreshing to hear that opening jingle again, and see this high school everyman get out of the weirdest, and yet relatable, circumstances.

Although I think it’s safe to say the series was influenced by Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Parker Lewis has a style all its own, and never really feels like it borrowed anything. The clever camera angles and editing help a lot, but the series also has a fresh, heartfelt quality, that plays out very well, even after all of these years.

I also love the fact that the show has what some have called a “living-cartoon-like quality,” something that makes Parker Lewis bounce off the screen in every episode. With the arrival of the first season on DVD, I can only hope the second and third seasons will follow very soon.

Of course, Parker Lewis is showing his age quite a bit today. There’s no ignoring the clothes, or some of the references, but overall Parker Lewis is still a lot of fun. It’s especially made for those of us who grew up with the show, but it’s worth a look if you really like your retro kitsch, complete with loud shirts and super-outdated technology.

DVD extras include seven impressive audio commentaries featuring most of the cast and crew, and a very good documentary on the series, The History of Coolness: A Look Back at Parker Lewis Can’t Lose.

Stone of Destiny
When people talk about Scottish films, or at least films set in Scotland, the conversation often turns to the likes of Rob Roy, Braveheart, Trainspotting or even Highlander. So when a new film about one of Scotland’s most treasured artefacts debuts, it’s understandable that expectations might be a little high.

Set in 1950, Stone of Destiny is the story of Scottish national pride, which retells the story of the three young nationalists who broke into Westminster Abbey to steal the famed Stone of Destiny, better known as the Stone of Scone.

With Scotland’s national pride barely registering at the time, the story looks at the events that led three young men to try to bring their country’s national symbol back home.

Stolen by Edward I in 1296, the Stone is Scotland’s royal symbol, used during coronations since around 840 AD. After it was stolen, the Stone was held in Westminster Abbey, and placed inside a coronation chair as a symbol that the reigning monarch of England also ruled over Scotland.

Directed by Charles Martin Smith, Stone of Destiny stars Charlie Cox, Kate Mara, Billy Boyd and Robert Carlyle. The cast is a good mix of actors, who all contribute to the story, but there is no missing the film’s rather weak script. At just over an-hour-and-a-half, Stone of Destiny is not overly long, but it definitely drags every step of the way.

There is also very little about the film that goes beyond expectations. For a film set in Scotland, you at least expect the scenery to stand out with vivid cinematography, but along with the bland story, the film disappoints in nearly every way.

Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li
My expectations are always low when you start putting words like “move adaptation” together with “gaming franchise,” and for good reason. To this day I can’t name a decent film version of even the best video games. That disappointing fact continues with Smallville’s Kristin Kreuk starring as Chun-Li in Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chun-Li.

Director Andrzej Bartkowiak, best known for his awful films Doom and Exit Wounds, takes on this “imaginative” story about a group of fighters from around the world who slug it out for good, or evil.

So, how bad is this movie? To put it mildly – horrific seems to sum it up. I had to force myself through the first 15 minutes. My admiration for Kreuk aside, who is acceptable in this role, the film has a lousy script, and is filled by wooden performances and a plot that barely keeps the pace of the action film alive.

12 Rounds
Last of all, wrestling star John Cena stars in this action-thriller about New Orleans Police Detective Danny Baxter, who mistakenly kills a fiendish thief’s girlfriend during a huge heist.

With thoughts of revenge on his mind, the thief escapes from prison and submits our hero to an endless series of puzzles that will test his skills, and put the life of someone he loves in danger.

While I am all for action movies, the first hint of wrestling stars and rehashed plots (I’m thinking Die Hard, all the way) leaves me feeling slightly annoyed. Critics also widely panned the film for being a slow dud, with no redeeming qualities to speak of.

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