Craig's Early Review: "Parker"


Movie Review: "Parker" -

Jason Statham has a strict set of rules, is distrusting, and doesn’t hurt the innocent. Are you surprised? I thought not. I’d tell you the character’s name but would it really help to differentiate his acting work at this point? Plus you know the title, an adaptation of “Flashfire”, which in itself was part of a series of “Parker” novels by Donald Westlake. In fact “Parker” is more like a joyless re-do of Mel Gibson’s “Payback”, itself a Westlake “Parker” novel which changed the main characters name to Porter.

Statham and his co-horts (Micah A. Hauptman, Clifton Colins Jr., Wendell Pierce, Michael Chiklis) first rob an Ohio fair. Parker refuses when these men try to recruit him for an even bigger score and is then left for dead on the side of the road. Once nursed back to health, he tracks them to Palm Beach where he plans on exacting revenge. He also meets Leslie (Jennifer Lopez), a desperate real estate agent going through a rough time with divorce, a drained bank account, and having to move back in with mom (Patti Lupone).

Taylor Hackford has made good movies. “Ray” is solid and “The Devil’ Advocate” is a personal favorite but if the intention was for him to recreate Steven Soderbergh’s “Out of Sight”, “Parker” fails. It has a workman-like, going-through-the-motions quality that results in hardly any laughs or a pulse. The two heists are easy and unimpressive (the guy’s seem to favor setting fires and have an endless supply of costumes and emrgency response team gear ), other than a really fantastic one-on- one fist fight the bloody shoot-outs and fights barely register, and all this is made worse by lack of compelling characters.

The principle of getting back what was taken from you, rather than the money itself, is what’s important here but rather than bring the sly humor and menacing charisma to that concept as Gibson brought to “Payback”, Statham is on hand just to brutally dispatch bad guys and on occasion do a terrible Houston accent (the gigantic cowboy hat was good for a laugh though). And why is Jennifer Lopez even in this movie? Parker already has a girlfriend (Emma Booth) and a strip search scene between Parker and Leslie couldn’t lack any more sexual tension. Lopez fidgets around a lot, I’m guessing for comic effect, but again i’m just guessing, not laughing. In fact she sorta just seems sad here. But perhaps even more depressing is seeing Collin’s Jr, “The Wire’s” Pierce, and “The Shield’s” Chiklis reduced to standing around for most of the movie.

In the end, “Parker” just doesn’t want to give much effort.