Starring: Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis
Directed by Taylor Hackford
Jason Statham might be the least ambitious man in Hollywood. The guy has talent. Sure, he probably won’t ever win, or even be nominated for an Oscar but the guy has proven that even in his worst films; he isn’t the worst thing about them (that’s not a backhanded compliment, by the way). But Statham doesn’t stray too far from his typical character archetype. And with that comes films that without his participation would never see the light of day in an actual movie theater. They make money though (pretty much all of it overseas) and so he keeps churning out cheap movies, clinging to his character archetype, laughing all the way to the bank.
Parker is, like most Statham movies, full of ambitious ideas. Ideas that at some point get lost in the writing process because most of the movies that Statham stars in, story doesn’t sell, Statham kicking ass sells. Which if given the right director, then Statham kicking ass might at the very least, be worth a rental. Taylor Hackford, the director who is most famous for An Officer and A Gentlemen and Ray, is behind the camera for Parker. Mr. Hackford isn’t a director that is action scene savvy and it shows. This also creates a problem because when this needs to be your movies bread and butter and your pantry is empty…all I can say…woops.
Parker is a thief, but the good Hollywood kind. You know, hurting people doesn’t involve women or children. He’s also the one who has the loving and understanding girlfriend/wife waiting for them and the one who is liked by everybody who ass he isn’t kicking. Parker is pulling off a robbery at the Ohio State Fair (because in movie world, State Fairs are profitable) with 4 other individuals (led by Michael Chiklis). The job is a success and when Chiklis and gang offer Parker an opportunity to join them on the score of a lifetime and he declines. They refuse to pay him and decide he’s expendable. But when your gang includes a guy who is the worst shot in the world and can’t kill Parker, shooting him at point blank range; then it’s pretty obvious what comes next, Parker wants revenge.
So Parker jets down to West Palm Beach, where the score of a lifetime is happening. It’s there that he meets Leslie Rogers (Jennifer Lopez) a real estate agent with debts to be paid, lives with her overbearing mom, has a back story that is never developed and wants to help Parker seek his revenge for a cut of the profits that Parker ultimately grabs from the gang. Parker has a back story as well, which aren’t developed either. He has flashbacks in the movie, but most of them revolve around scenes that already happened in the movie.
There are also back stories involving the mob, Parker's relationship with his girlfriend/wife and her criminal father (Nick Nolte), a West Palm Beach cop (Bobby Cannavale) who has a crush and apparently a history with Ms. Rogers but spoiler alert: that really isn’t explained.
With all these loose ties just hanging around your story, then the movie must rely on the action to pick up the pieces. But Hackford has one word in his last name that describes his style as an action director…I’ll let you take a guess as to what that is. The scenes are shot up close, they’re choppy and provide nothing in the way of suspense or excitement. It also doesn’t help a story when the actions of the criminals allow the audience members to say, “I could do what they did but I could do it way better”.
At the end of the film,Parker gets his revenge, Leslie gets her money and it just stops. If that last sentence seems ho hum well, that’s Parker in a nut shell. A movie that isn’t necessarily bad; far from good, like eating a frozen pizza. Yeah it did it’s job, but it leaves you wondering why you ever spent money on it in the first place when there are way better options out there.