Directed by Taylor Hackford
Written by John J. McLaughlin
Cast: Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis
For years I have long held onto the belief that if you’ve seen one Jason Statham movie, you’ve seen them all. He usually plays a hard-ass with a chip on his shoulder or a heart of gold. He’s pissed off and whoever gets in his way is usually going to end up on the floor with a busted nose or a bullet in the head. So where does his latest flick, Parker, fit in with the other movies he’s done? If you know what to expect when you see Jason Statham’s name attached, you should be relieved to know that he does bust heads and puts bullets in them when the situation calls for it. However, the plot that’s structured around Statham’s bad-assery leaves a lot to be desired this time around.
Parker is basically another heist film in a long list of heist films that deals with the title character, in this case Parker, being double-crossed by a group of thugs after they pull a job at a county fair. With a couple of bullets in him and armed with a need to get even, Parker closes in on his former associates and along the way enlists the aid of Jennifer Lopez, who seems to have crossed over from a completely unrelated movie about a desperate and financially-strapped real estate agent who needs that one big break in her life.
Needless to say, Jennifer Lopez is only one of many factors that render Parker a tedious movie to sit through. The first and biggest issue has to be a fundamental lack of drive or tension. From the first heist to the last, it’s just difficult to give a crap about anything that’s happening. There’s not a lot of characterization in this movie, so it’s hard to care about the protagonists and even harder to loathe the villains, which includes a severely underutilized Michael Chiklis. As a result, the movie ends up coming across as a very sequential affair; one scene follows the next, a brief fight scene breaks out once or twice, and it’s over. It doesn’t help that Jennifer Lopez is running around, and believe me when I say that she doesn’t contribute anything worthwhile to the situation. She’s just there. No chemistry exists between her character and Parker, who already has a love interest that shows up intermittently throughout the film. Nick Nolte also shows up as Parker’s mentor, but the only thing memorable about his on-screen presence is the fact that every time he speaks it’s like someone just swallowed sandpaper.
Despite the lack of inventiveness in Parker, Statham does get to beat people up, but it’s nothing you haven’t seen before. However, he also wears a cowboy hat and adopts a Texan accent at one point, so that’s new. For the most part, though, you’re better off waiting for this movie to premiere on Showtime or whatever movie channel it ends up on. If you’re looking for a good heist film, revenge flick, or Jason Statham being his trademark pissed-off self, there are tons of movies that have already done it better.by