Friday, February 1, 2013


Get out your guns and fake accents, we're reviewing Parker!
Jason Statham plays Jason Statham in Jason Statham!
After a successful heist of a state fair, Parker(Jason Statham) expects his fair share of the loot. Melander(Michael Chicklis) has another idea. He shoots Parker, leaves him for dead, and takes the brunt of the money to fund another job!  But when Parker wakes up, he resigns to get his share back, and heaven help whoever stands in his way! Also Lesile Rodgers(Jennifer Lopez) wants some money too, so there she is.

Parker is kind of a dumb boring mess. I was a lot more pissed at it when I thought it was another interpretation of Richard Stark's novel The Hunter, which has already had two movie incarnations and one comic interpretation(beautifully drawn by Darwyn Cooke, and easily the best version). Thankfully, it's actually an adaptation of another one of Richard Stark's novels, Flashfire, that uses the same main character, Parker.  Now I know they're not completely disregarding the source material, but actually basing it off another book in the series.  And, honestly, I admire that.  I'm glad they're trying to reintroduce the character into a new story rather than rehash what has arguably been done better at least one of three different times. But that doesn't save it from being a mostly uninteresting slog of a movie.

One of the main problems with Parker is that it has no focus. It starts with Parker's story(arguably the most interesting story, and the reason why we're here) but then it moves to Claire(Parker's girlfriend played by Emma Booth)'s story, to Leslie's story, to the thieve's that ripped Parker off story. It can't decide who's story it wants to do and instead does all of them and loses any kind of attention we might have had with any one story.

Parker for instance should be an interesting character(And in those other interpretations, especially Payback, his character is the main draw). But here he just seems boring. He's every good-bad-tough guy we've seen in every action movie ever. This is coupled with the fact that Jason Statham is playing Jason Statham playing the Transporter. You get a sense that Parker is supposed to be this rough guy that can weave his way into any situation or play any part, but Jason Statham always looks and sounds like a british assassin. He even tries to pull off a Texan accent which I find hard to beleive anyone would fall for.
I think I see why she was
picked for the role.
And then there's J-Lo's Leslie, which could have been an interesting character herself. Unfortunately, we're only introduced to her forty minutes in, so it's hard to figure why we should care about her story when we've already spent so much time with Parker and Claire. But her character is an struggling divorced woman living with her mother trying to get out of debt! I can relate with that! Ok not the divorced woman part but the rest I can relate to, but I'm not! Why don't I care about this more?!

More than Leslie's story not being a focus, I don't know why she needed to be part fo the film. It's basically a whole other sub-movie shoved into the Jason Statham action flick.  She's not a love interest, because Parker's already got Claire, and she barely helps with the whole finding-the-guys-that-left-him-for-dead plot, so I really don't understand why she's there.

Or really, why Claire is there, because she basically does nothing except show Parker cares about someone. I like that they didn't go to the cliche kidnap your girlfriend(which they kind of did with J-Lo anyways), but there's a reason movies do that; it's to add tension.  There's really no tension between Parker and Claire or Leslie and Parker, or even Leslie and Claire.

 And that's the thing, it could have worked with both of them, but there is no love triangle tension at all. Parker is too good of a guy to cheat on Claire and Claire is always going to be there for him and Leslie is too good to steal Parker away, so all it amounts to in the end is Leslie going, "Oh I kind of liked you but you're taken so I guess I won't whatver." It's boring and pointless.

Oh, y'know how I've barely talked about the main plot of the movie? That's how the movie treats it. We are all expecting him to get to the point where he's getting ready to steal his money back and get his revenge, and by the time the movie catches up, it's over halfway done. There is so much stuff going on between that takes too long that I don't care about. Look, you have a Jason Statham action movie, do you think I came here to watch Leslie bitch about her coworkers or Parker looking at houses? No sir, I did not.  There might be two or three good brutal fights interspersed between gobs of boring crap. I can't remember the last movie I watched where I jsut wanted it to be over.

There is a lot of stuff going onthat I do not care about. And the fights that are there are pretty good, but it's nothing you couldn't get by watching any of the Transporer or Crank films or I don't know ANY OTHER JASON STATHAM MOVIE EVER IN EXISTENCE. There's really nothing here amazing enough or well-choreographed enough that's worth slogging through all the boring crap you have to watch just to get through it. Jason Statham holds a knife and a guy falls out a window. That is the best scene of the movie.

More nitpicking  I don't understand why Nick Nolte is telling Parker not to mess with these guys when he's the one who told Parker to deal with him. Guy, you are terrible at your job.  The acting is...well, there are people doing and saying stuff and that's admirable I guess. I don't know, I wouldn't call it good.  Jason Statham is of course playing Jason Statham, and J-Lo is playing J-Lo, but oh no things are just not working out.  I think Michael Chicklis goes a little too over the top with his vilain.  Also, they totally do that thing where they show the last scene of the movie in the trailer, which is very annoying when you think a good scene is coming and then it only shows up at the end and gets cut-off.

This should have been a more epic battling of the bald tough guys.
I wasn't expecting much from Parker, but I was at least expecting it to be not boring.  From the trailers and opening credits, I thought it would have a modicum of cool, graphical style.  But save from some floating text above cities that we've seen in every show and movie since Fringe, there was none. I mean there were two heists in this movie and at least three action scenes, they could have at least had some of the smooth style from Ocean's Eleven or the Hustle series or the over-the-top visceral action of Crank. But nope. The action scenes are actiony, stuff is happening, but it's not stylized or graphically pleasing to watch.  There are a few good tension scenes, that is the best I can do.

 Parker is not that great a movie. It's boring and anything that's remotely fun and interesting could be seen better and easier in other places. I cannot reccomend spending money on this.

THE GOOD: A few ok fight scenes and tense scenes, based on a Richard Stark novel.

THE BAD: No focus, messy, no style, takes too long to get to the plot, Jason Sthatam is Jason Statham, acting is not great, overall boring slog.

THE VERDICT: $$ Not compelty awful, but really there's no reason you need to see this. Just go watch Payback or The Transporter or Crank 2.

MOVIES LIKE IT: Payback, Point Blank, The Transporter, The Transporter 2, Crank, Crank 2, Ocean's 11, Ocean's 12, Ocean's 13, Transporter 3

ONE-SCENE METAPHOR: Leslie has a cop admirer(Bobby Cannavale from Boardwalk Empire) who's always hitting on and following her. He shows up for exactly one tense scene of "oh no I hope he doesn't find Parker!" and then is never used again. Because why not.

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