Action Movie Fanatix Review: Parker

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To Get Away Clean, You Have To Play Dirty

Starring: Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis, Wendell Pierce, Clifton Collins Jr., Nick Nolte, Daniel Bernhardt

Director: Taylor Hackford

2013  |  118 Minutes  |  Rated R

“Everyone steals, Leslie. Some people admit it to themselves, some don’t.” – Parker

Jason Statham can crank (no pun intended) out action movies with the best of them but when I started seeing posters and trailers for Parker something seemed different.  Adding Jennifer Lopez to the equation made me think that someone up there in Hollywood land was trying to bring Jason Statham to the mainstream… trying to pull in that American Idol audience.  If that was their goal, then I don’t think it worked.  If their goal was to create a pretty sweet action movie despite J-Lo’s inclusion, then mission accomplished.

Parker (Jason Statham) is a thief with a conscience.  He doesn’t steal from people who can’t afford it and he doesn’t hurt people who don’t deserve it.  So, when his crew double-crosses him, he teams up with an unlikely partner, realtor Leslie Rodgers (Jennifer Lopez), hell bent on revenge.

I just love a movie opening like this.  We start with a heist but we don’t know what they’re after or what their gameplan is so we’re just along for the ride.  All guys love a heist, right?

Parker is a character that is pretty darn similar to other characters Jason Statham has played before.  He’s smooth, he’s a ladies’ man and he can kick serious ass.  But, Parker also has disguises.  The priest disguise actually worked pretty well.  After that it was all downhill.  The trucker lookin’ dude pretty much was just Parker with a moustache and his third “disguise” is the worst of them all.  He basically just puts on a baby blue suit, cowboy hat and talks with a really bad Texas accent.  Shockingly, he doesn’t fool Leslie.  But, then again, we don’t watch Jason Statham’s movies for his wide range of emotions and accents.  We watch Jason Statham movies because he plays the part of a badass, balding, cool as a cucumber dude better than anyone.  And that is exactly what he pulls off, yet again, in Parker.

J-Lo’s character, on the other hand, just comes across as pathetic and useless and she doesn’t get much better by the end.  This isn’t a Cinderella story where by the end she is self sufficient and happy and successful.  She’s still just as pathetic as she was at the beginning… she just knows Parker now.

As a whole, the action was well done but was never grandiose in scale.  That’s fine.  I can dig the close quarters, down and dirty stuff and that is just what director Taylor Hackford delivers here.  One weird thing I got into here was the treatment of blood.  Maybe I’m completely off my rocker but I loved that during the big Statham/Bernhardt showdown there is blood ending up all over the place and when Parker gets injured it felt more real because the blood felt like it was dripping down him not just being makeup that was stuck in place.

In most movies the big bloody brawl between Jason Statham and Daniel Bernhardt would be a show-stealer.  Tell me you didn’t cringe when the knife went through his hand.  Fortunately the finale of Parker is action-F’ing-packed.  It starts with another heist and ends with Parker kickin’ ass.  What more could you ask for?

 

At the end of the day, Parker probably won’t stand out above many of Jason Statham’s other efforts and it didn’t pull in the Idol crowd, if that was even something they were going for, but it holds its own.  The tension kept my attention the entire time and I would most certainly watch it again for the bloody good action.

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