Parker has existed in many iterations in the past. He is the career criminal from Donald E. Westlake’s long-running series of novels. But, the character has never been permitted to keep his name.
Parker (Jason Statham) only robs those who arguably deserve it. He’s mentor and father-figure, Hurley (Nick Nolte) puts him in touch with Melander (Michael Chiklis) and a few other like-minded thieves, with the intent of robbing a county fair. Thing go a wry when he’s partners go rogue and start opening fire on innocent by-standers. Melander then attempts to bully Parker into using his share of the take, to invest in a bigger robbery, when Parker refuses he is shot, dumped in a ditch and left or dead. A passing family find him and take him to a nearby hospital. As he recovers he seeks revenge on the gang, who are now living in Palm Beach.
Whilst in Palm Beach, Parker meets Leslie (Lopez), a down on her luck estate agent, who has recently moved back in with her mother. She is about to have her car repossessed, and is in danger of loosing her job, if she doesn’t make a sale.
Parker posses as wealthy Texan looking to buy property, but Leslie thinks something is off about him (probably Statham’s poor Texan accent). Parker soon reveals to Leslie his true intentions and she agrees to help him, for a cut of the profits.
Now, Parker has been promoted as an action-comedy. The trailers made it look like Statham and Lopez were the new Riggs and Murtaugh. It isn’t and they’re not. That isn’t to say the pair don’t have chemistry, they do. It’s also refreshing that Lopez isn’t a love interest for him, he is in a fully committed long-term relationship.
Over the years, Statham as an actor. He’s learnt “on the job” and he’s performances improve with every film. He also has an instant likability aspect, that some actors would have difficulty pulling off. The performances in this film are mostly solid, but the actors are let down by the script and direction. The writers can’t decide what kind of man they want Parker to be and Hackford comes across like a first time director. you would never believe he had directed an oscar nominated film.
The blood and violence in Parker are a bit OTT and the film almost becomes a laughable parody, which is fine for something like the Expendables, which is a love letter to OTT action films, but Parker isn’t The Expendables.
Over all the film is a clichéd mess and could have easily lost 30-40 minutes, there are characters that don’t really fit in this movie, or even actually need to be there. It feels incredibly forced, when we’re asked to feel emotion for them.
The extras include an informative commentary by Director Taylor Hackford, in which he discusses the source novel, casting, production and effects.
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