I don’t have a problem when someone tries to make a B-grade 80’s style action thriller. I do get annoyed when they fail miserably in doing so.
Parker is your straight forward revenge drama. Our man Jason Statham plays, Parker, the thief with moral values. He’s the one who goes around saying that he only steals from those who can afford to get robbed and never harms anyone who doesn’t deserve it. Well, cry me a Robin Hood will you! The problem is that no matter how hard they try to make the hero smart, there are always basic commonsense issues that plague these films.
Take for instance when Parker goes on to do a ‘job’ with a bunch of new guys, who he’s never worked with, and isn’t too sure about. Obviously Parker isn’t a fan of the movies, because if he was, he would know that nothing good can come out of this scenario. Nevertheless, after the heist, in the car the suspicious teammates present Parker with an offer to join them for another job, which would require him giving up on his present loot. Now, any man with the slightest of commonsense would probably be like sure, there are four of these guys and one of me in a van and I am smart enough to see that they have guns in their hands, so I’ll just say yes for now, and if I’m not too comfortable I’ll think about it later, when I am safe. But that’s not how things pan out do they, because Parker must announce his code and be brave and go Bang! Bang! in the car and end up by the side of the road presumed dead by the rest.
After that, it’s Parker trying to find the guys followed by Parker running around all macho and butch and trying to put things straight. In between all this we have Parker’s girlfriend, played by Emma Booth, who in all honesty is just there to show a tiny bit of nudity which really seemed miserably forced. A parallel story has Jennifer Lopez, yeah! She’s in this too, playing out an out-of-luck real-estate agent who ends up crossing her paths with Parker.
Aside from maybe a couple of brief action sequences that provide the thrills, there really isn’t much to the film. The acting is mediocre at best, and Michael Chiklis is simply wasted as the main villain. Nick Nolte has a small part, but again nothing that stands out. As much as I enjoy films with Jason Statham, Parker simply never even achieves the basic levels of expectations. Jennifer Lopez’s Leslie Rogers was the probably the only one that had a story line with some depth and interest. While the film has ample opportunity to make the ending dark and could have easily risen up with a few twists, instead everything is just kept simple, brain dead simple.
So, even if you are a Jason Statham fan, you won’t be missing much if you give Parker a skip. I suggest save your money on the theatre ticket or the DVD and go buy a Parker pen instead.
PS: While searching for a picture of the movie poster, I came across one that had the tagline "Payback has a new name", and you know what, in a nutshell they are right. It is a lot like the film Payback with a new name, only worse.