Parker is a bloody fun time
‘Parker’ is a pretty by the numbers with a few decent twists, but the fun is watching all the crazy Jason Statham action.
A man’s gotta to have a code. Even hardened criminals who steal or murder. Or something like that. Is there such a thing as honor among thieves, or is that a load of crap?
In Parker, highly intelligent and clever thief Parker (Jason Statham) is going on yet another big score, planning everything down to the last detail. What could possibly go wrong? A bunch, but it’s not too bad — until he declines fellow thief Melander’s (Michael Chiklis) offer for another job. Then it’s being left for dead and fuming for vengeance. So far, it’s the perfect setup for a Statham thrill-ride and we’ve already had punches, kicks, guns, explosions, and blood already in the first twenty minutes. Decent start. And I was personally a bit surprised at how vulnerable Parker’s character ended up, actually acknowledging pain and damage. Although he’s fairly invincible when the story requires it.
But where does Jennifer Lopez (playing depressed and unsuccessful Palm Beach realtor Leslie Rodriguez) come in? I mean, the previews seem to indicate she’s disrobing at some point, so when does that happen? Well, it will, eventually, and Jennifer’s still in great shape. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of the less common female gaze here too. Anyway, Leslie gets involved with Parker’s revenge plan, blah blah blah rich people contrasted with working class blah blah blah literal diamond heist etc etc etc Parker’s girlfriend is targeted for death too. Who cares? We’re here to see action!
It’s actually quite refreshing that although there is some chemistry written into the script, it never surfaces and there’s no cliched romantic subplot to bother with. No sir or ma’am, let’s start the heist with a very simple plan, with just a few original twists that are enjoyable to watch. Statham does a lot of his own stunts, including some that are quite intense and dangerous, and the action is shot cleanly and with clear focus. You can see every punch land and bone break perfectly. Now, yes, Jennifer Lopez is the weak point here, alternating between highly measured line readings, mild looks of annoyance, and actually decent bouts of acting. And a few humorous asides with her mother (played by Patti LuPone of all people). There are a few enjoyable less prominent roles, including Nick Nolte and The Wire‘s Wendell Pierce. Don’t let the movie’s posturing of trying to be more than a fun action movie fool you, that’s all it is. I mean I guess there are a lot of themes that could be explored, and Parker could be a lot more nuanced a character (he often talks about his moral code, but we don’t really see it in action much — instead he just steals a lot of cars from innocent people).
Sorry, Parker, you were fun but you ain’t deep.