Parker is an altogether very Jason Statham movie. It does very little different from the other films he headlines, down to his inability to do convincing accents and the pain you can’t help but feel for the women he kisses with that sandpaper face. At least in Parker, he gets the tar beaten out of him and that affects his ability to function.
Long story short: If you like Jason Statham actioners, you’ll enjoy Parker, although you will probably reach the halfway point of the flick and kind of wish Statham was doing something different.
Here’s a trailer:
Released January 25, 2013
Written by John J. McLaughlin, based on the novel by Donald E. Westlake
Directed by Taylor Hackford
Starring Jennifer Lopez, Patti LuPone, Emma Booth, Jason Statham, Michael Chiklis, Nick Nolte, Clifton Collins, Jr, and Bobby Cannavale
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Parker (Statham) is a thief with a code. He only steals from people who can afford it (although they would likely disagree) and he only hurts people who deserve it (again, they would likely disagree). He involves himself with a gang who have ties to a big-time mobster in a job where they rob an amusement park. The leader of the gang is Melander (Chiklis), and Melander does not have the same code.
After Parker is betrayed by Melander and the rest of the gang, he is left for dead. Of course, he does not die and the people who help him show up in a sort of epilogue to the film, getting what is coming to them. Now Parker is out to get the nasty guys who betrayed him, retrieve his money, and end up living a life of ease and rest.
After tracking down Melander and the other baddies, Parker hatches a rather intricate plan to get back at them, while at the same time he has to dodge the big mobster’s attempts on his life and the life of his loved ones. In executing his plan, Parker comes in contact with Leslie Rodgers (Lopez), a hungry real estate agent who is fighting to catch a break and get ahead. She lives with her mother (LuPone) and is recovering from a crappy marriage and Parker gives her hope for her future.
Parker is smarter than everyone else, so we know he’s going to win. His plan is interesting and plays to his strengths. And the final showdown is as satisfactory as possible with what is essentially a B+ movie.
Parker is as formulaic as you might expect. The writing effort was spent on some creative and convoluted heist plots and some at times funny dialogue. Not enough writing effort was put into helping the audience care about Parker and his compatriots, much less on creating enough obstacles to make Parker’s journey more difficult.
Luckily, it’s still interesting and Statham is great as the guy with ice in his veins, sandpaper jaw, and the ability to keep going when beaten up. You kind of wonder why he has to create such an intricate plan when just getting a couple of explosive devices and some firearms seems like it would have been enough to beat the crew of baddies.
Of further benefit is that Jennifer Lopez seems to have actually learned to act, putting her skills on display in a convincing portrayal of a desperate yet ultimately naive real estate agent.
Also, the bad guys are sufficiently bad, endangering innocents with their carelessness and selfishness, so we want to see them get theirs.
Parker is no Transporter. It’s not fresh or eye-popping or slick. It’s gritty and formulaic, but it’s still not terrible. Parker gets beat up badly, although this is the entirety of the obstacles he faces. It doesn’t have interesting twists. It has gratuitous fleshiness. But it’s overall okay.
Content warning: some salty language and some gritty violence and a scene of sexuality
Writing: 2.5 Acting: 3.5 Overall: 2.5
Don’t ‘Parker’ (park here), get out there and share this review with all Jason Statham fans.