British model-turned-actor, Jason Statham, is back on the silver screen in action crime-thriller, Parker. Based on the Donald E. Westlake’s series of Parker novels, the role of the prominent tough-as-nails criminal – previously played by Lee Marvin, Mel Gibson and Robert Duvall – doesn’t sit all too well on the Brit’s shoulders But he’s not the only one to blame.
Directed by Taylor Hackford – a man whose impressive Hollywood résumé includes hits such as An Officer and a Gentleman and Ray – and adapted to the screen by John J. McLaughlin, Parker is messy, predictable and fails to avoid classic crime-drama clichés. So where does it all go wrong?
The film opens up with a heist at an Ohio State Fair, where Parker (Statham), along with a team of four other felons, embezzle a score of one million dollars. The job is successful, but during the car ride home, the team of thugs turn on Parker after he refuses to give up his share of the money.
After being shot by his frenemies, Parker is left for dead. Naturally, this is one killing machine that isn’t so easy to get rid of. After a quick recovery, he goes on to plan his revenge, along with the help of a former mentor (Nolte) and his loyal girlfriend, Claire (Booth). His first stop is Palm Beach, where the rest of the gang is making plans for another big hit – a billion-dollar bling steal. However, in order to exact his revenge, he needs the help of financially-bruised real estate broker, Leslie (Lopez) – who’s more than happy to get her hands on a little bit of commission.
This is not a awful film per se, but it’s difficult to defend. Granted, the story stays true to Parker’s no-frills style of criminality, but it’s his code of ethics that is questionable; he doesn’t hurt anyone that doesn’t deserve it.
In fairness, there are a few bursts of energy and some of the action sequences are pretty solid, but it’s nothing different to the usual Hollywood spiel. Overall, very little heart or creativity seems to have been put into the plot, which also happens to be extremely long for this type of film. The direction is lazy, the characters are overwritten and Hackford’s habit of throwing gratuitous flashbacks at you is downright annoying.
We’re sick of questioning why Statham keeps taking the same roles, but this time round, he lacks the needed charm and charisma to hold up what is a slightly more substantial storyline.
The cowboy hats and dodgy southern accents are hilarious and although Statham and J-Lo share zero on-screen chemistry, the Latina princess manages to keep her character grounded in a sea of folly.
Predictable and cluttered, Statham fans will have a field day with this one, but will soon forget about it after the credits roll.