Tuesday 19 March 2013

Dark Review - Parker

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Parker Film Review

By Casey Douglass

Directed by : Taylor Hackford
Writers : John J. McLaughlin , Donald E. Westlake
Starring : Jason Statham , Jennifer Lopez , Michael Chiklis , Wendell Pierce , Nick Nolte

Parker is a high-concept sci-fi thriller with a rich philosophy and epic scenes of majestic beauty. Sorry if that made you choke and dribble coffee down your chin…I am joking! Do you need a tissue?

Parker is the usual kind of Jason Statham movie, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Parker (Statham) is a thief with more highly developed morals than his contemporaries.

The film starts with him striding into a fairground dressed as a vicar, complete with grey wig and dog collar, although looking more like he might just punch someone rather than offer spiritual support. He and the other four men in his team are pulling a job, and the first fifteen minutes of the film sets the pieces in position and then slowly knocks them down. After which comes the almost inevitable cock-up, followed by the double cross which sees Parker fighting for his life and mightily pissed off he is too.

From this moment on, the film is about him getting what is owed to him, tinged with the chance for some brutal payback. While trying to track down his old team, he crosses paths with Leslie Rogers (Lopez), a failing real-estate agent that he hoodwinks into showing him around. She inadvertently hels him find where his gang are holed up as they plan for their next big score. This dynamic changes when she reveals herself to be more intelligent than he takes her for and sees through his fake papers and identity. The rest of the film sees them as active partners, her the bumbling newbie, while he has to tolerate her mistakes.

The film progresses at a nice pace, the gaps between one bout of violence and the next never seeming long. When it does happen, it is usually swift and brutal, although in this particular film Statham ends up trying to pull a John McClane, seeing just how beaten and injured he can be and still serve up retribution. There is also a nice brand of humour that popped up in unexpected ways which helped lighten the film a little.

I enjoyed the plot of the film, although there were the usual few question marks over some of the characters. Hurley (Nolte) plays Parker’s mentor and father to his girlfriend. He is conveyed as an old hand when it comes to shady dealings. Unfortunately, his part seemed particularly throw away, there to nudge Parker onto the job that becomes his downfall, and as occasional moral support. He then disappears less than half way into the film. Parker’s girlfriend is also quite a flimsy character, there to patch him up when he is injured, and to just weigh on his mind at times to show that he is a caring guy. There is also the well-known scene from the film trailer, that shows Lopez stripping in front of Statham so that Parker can see that she isn’t wearing a wire. Fair enough, the plot gives a reason for it, but when you see it you can’t help thinking it was put in to show that J.Lo still has it and to draw in a few more male cinema goers.

I couldn’t help but feel that if you added a nice black Audi and a little more driving, you could have happily put the word “Transporter” in the title, next to a number four. The character Parker is incredibly like Frank, both obsessed by morals and rules, both unwilling to see innocents get hurt, and both dressing in similar ways. I do enjoy Statham’s films, and the similarity didn’t particularly bother me. If you aren’t really a fan of Statham, I am not sure this film will win you over. I enjoyed the film for what it was, an interesting tale punctuated with brutal fights and the odd exhilarating stunt.

Rating : 3/5


Review also on Generic Movie Blog UK here.