Starring: Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte
You may like this if you like: Ransom (Ron Howard, 1996), The Mechanic (Simon West, 2011), Faster (George Tillman Jr., 2010)
Parker (Statham of course) is a thief with a moral code (!). After joining a criminal gang for a heist in which they steal $1 million. An innocent person is killed in the heist (which of course upsets him) and the gang leader (Michael Chiklis) insists they all use the money for a much larger multimillion dollar heist. Wanting no part of it, Parker refuses and is subsequently left for dead by the gang. After a motorist finds him and takes him to a hospital, Parker escapes the hospital and, yes you guessed it, swears vengeance against the gang that left him for dead. The gang’s planned multimillion dollar heist is in San Antonio and Parker tracks them down buying a house there posing as a wealthy Texan, complete with dodgy accent and Stetson. With the help of a local realtor (Lopez), he carefully plans his revenge.
I apologise if that synopsis was boring and generic, trust me the film is even more so.
As soon as Statham declares that he “does not hurt or steal from those that do not deserve it”, it is obvious that this film is desperate for us to like the entitled protagonist. Despite this apparent ‘moral code’, he is still ultimately a thief and a criminal. It is this obvious desperation that immediately suggests that Parker is a poorly made and poorly written film. Unfortunately it is, and worse. Just to clarify, I like Jason Statham and often thoroughly enjoy his films. Though no Lawrence Olivier, he has found his niche and does what he does extremely well. However, for me Parker has to to go down as one of his poorest films of recent times.
Though I am unlikely to ever watch a Statham film for the strong plot (which naturally this film does not have), some decent action would be nice. Statham is absolutely fine, but given very little decent material to work with. He gets the occasional cheesy line which he of course delivers with aplomb, but he predominantly gets very little decent fight sequences or cheesy one liners (both his specialty) to get his meaty chops into. At just under two hours this film is at least 30 minutes too long with so many overlong and quite frankly boring scenes that should have been removed.
On the subject of removal, that would be the best course of action for Jennifer Lopez’s character. Her character adds nothing but a name on the poster and a scene in her underwear which is naturally in the trailer. Her character is completely pointless and the entire subplot involving her financial difficulties adds nothing and makes Parker a predominantly boring and laborious experience.
The plot is generic, which is basically to be expected, as well as completely forgivable if there was some decent action. Apart from one particularly brutal bathroom fight scene, the (sparse) action sequences are pretty boring. The final shootout provides very little intensity or excitement either, leading to ultimately sighing in the relief that this film is over.
Parker had the potential to be another mindless and enjoyable Statham action flick, but is ultimately overlong and very boring. Maybe it is time for another Crank or Transporter film to recharge his batteries?