Sunday, 16 March 2014

Parker (2013)

Parker (played here by Jason Statham) is a bad man, but one of the good ones. Does that make sense? No. Well, he's a thief with his own set of morals. For example, he always tries to rob only from those who deserve/can afford it. He doesn't like anyone to get hurt if it can be avoided. And when he says that he'll do something he always does it. When he's double-crossed by some colleagues and left for dead, Parker sets out to make things right, even as his wounds are still healing.

Based on a novel by Donald E. Westlake, Parker has a decent enough script by John J. McLaughlin and competent direction from Taylor Hackford. Fans of the character have noted that it doesn't really feel like a Parker movie, but it's certainly an enjoyable Jason Statham movie.

Alongside the leading man, support comes from Jennifer Lopez, Bobby Cannavale, Micah A. Hauptman, Clifton Collins Jr, Emma Booth, Michael Chiklis, Wendell Pierce and Nick Nolte. Lopez has the biggest supporting role, as an estate agent who gets caught up in Parker's scheme, and she's enjoyable, if unspectacular, in the role. It's a shame that the scene in which Parker makes her disrobe to prove that she's not wearing a wire didn't feel completely, and eye-rollingly, gratuitous, but I'm sure J-Lo fans won't be complaining. Cannavale just keeps doing solid work, and is quickly becoming someone I like to look out for in movies, and his turn here as a concerned police officer is another good one. Nolte and Booth are fine, while Chiklis, Pierce, Hauptman and Collins Jr. are all suitably mean.

Action fans may be disappointed that there aren't more fights throughout the movie, but what IS onscreen is good stuff. It's gritty, brutal stuff in places, with Statham taking a lot of hits as he tries to continue on his path of vengeance. Take note, however, that it's not just the fight scenes that might make you wince. Yes, this is another movie in which The Stath attempts an accent, and it's pretty horrible.

Parker is, like many other Jason Statham movies, an easy film to enjoy. It doesn't require intense concentration, it's not trying to change the rules of the game, it's just a solid bit of action entertainment. I recommend it to viewers who probably already suspect that they're going to enjoy it anyway.


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