Dave’s 3-Word Review:
A Hackford Hackjob
Have you ever noticed how the action heroes of our time seem to come one at a time? Anyone who is anyone will know who Arnold Schwartzenegger or Sylvester Stalone is, and most know who Tom Cruise or Shia LaBeouf is. Jason Statham is also among this list, and he really is very-well known. Is he a national icon though? Maybe not so much, but he is making his steady way to that title as well. In his latest flick, Parker, Statham strays away from his usual typecast performance, and spreads his range out further…but only by slightly. If anything, this was at least a well-done attempt by Statham.
In this book-adapted film, Jason Statham plays a man named Parker. Parker is a criminal with a very specific set of professional ethics that he follows. These ethics stop him from being a monster, like other criminals, but still methodical enough to get the job done. When he is double-crossed by his team…he sets out to get his revenge by using those specific professional ethics. Along the way, he runs into Leslie Rodgers (Jennifer Lopez), who was desperate for work after being fired from the real estate business. He hires her to be his…well…assistant.
There isn’t really anything too complex here when it comes to the story. Jason Statham is just playing a character that is out for revenge. Classic man versus man conflict, but nowadays that kind of basic storyline can only be used if the whole movie was also done right. That means good acting, Statham, that means good character development, Taylor Hackford…these things just don’t happen…because of that, the classic story of man versus man in a revenge to the end…seems lazy and underdeveloped. There were a lot of things that could have easily been implemented, and easily taken out to make a better movie. Instead, what you get is…well…a Hackford Hackjob.
Simply put, they clearly had a few good ideas when making this film. First of all, Jason Statham is almost always playing the same exact type of person, making him a clear-cut typecast. While he does exhibit the same type of personality, his character is a bit different in Parker. This time around, he has infinite possibilities and promise when it comes to impersonation. That’s his character trait that was a good idea. Like Clint Eastwood in Pink Cadillac, he changes his “character” to get the job done unseen. Unfortunately, out of this infinite possibilities and promise, they chose to give Statham a role he just could not pull off…a man with a southern accent. Really? It just seems illogical to give the man a character to play that Statham himself would probably refuse to play (Statham didn’t play the character, his character, Parker did. It’s a character-in-a-character type of thing).
Honestly, the only thing that holds this film together is the concept of changing his character. The rest of it was just the mission of revenge type-of-thing. Then there is Jennifer Lopez, who really doesn’t seem to fit in the movie. Ask yourself if her character was removed from the whole thing, could it still have worked? Yes it could, they probably just wanted a shot of Lopez in her bikini. The other thing that keeps this film sturdy is the action. Statham, when he does agree to be a typecast, has a way about him that is just fascinating to watch. When he acts like he should in Parker, it’s a riot. Some fight scenes are Transporter-worthy.
This is just one of those times where the main reason to watch the movie is if you are a fan of the title characters, and in this instance…Jason Statham. Check it out if you love Statham’s work, for this is a great addition. Parker came to Blu-Ray and DVD on May 21!