Review: Parker

Jason Statham in and as Parker
Jason Statham in and as Parker

Who Am I?

Rating: *

In the midst of a crucial action sequence, Parker (played by the ever monotonous Jason Statham) stops for a moment and adjusts his suit. Taking a cue from Skyfall, Taylor Hackford has his titular protagonist jumping into the middle of action wherever it happens – on a long highway, or even in a sky rise condo. While most scenes fall bland, there’s a well-executed heist at the Ohio State Fair.

But, the rest of the film is like a chapter out of Revenge Story Writing 101. You have a setup, then there’s the ambush, and then the famous dialogue spoken by any person who has survived the ambush “I’m gonna find ’em and I’m gonna kill ’em.” It’s a shame that Parker falls prey to the incessant cliches.

The film runs dry till Jennifer Lopez shows up as the neurotic real-estate agent, Leslie Rodgers. Lopez known for not trying too hard as an actor, is actually a godsend. The role, being written out of a bar napkin, is empty, allowing the singer to milk on her character’s neurotic background to create unexpected laughs. Time and again, you may think how does an underpaid real-estate agent who’s living with her mom, get to wear flashy clothes, but that’s just how Hollywood works.

The whole movie plays like clockwork. We’re informed that Parker has a girlfriend, Claire, who is shown in small, thirty-second scenes where she’s either in the shower with him, or is escaping hitmen, or she’s on the phone, wetting her eyes out. Right when you see a connect between Parker and Leslie, Claire shows up, breaking poor Leslie’s heart.

And like every girl who has to give up, Leslie offers to help Parker which sets up the film’s climactic sequence. There are talented actors in Parker, but they are reduced to mere stand-ins. Nick Nolte plays Parker’s mentor, while Bobby Canavale, who after a memorable role as Gyp Rosetti in Boardwalk Empire, plays a cop with no role.

Jason Statham has built a career full of one man army films. And while some of them (Transporter and Redemption) are notable, the rest just don’t help at all. The film is based on Flashfire, the 19th novel in John J. McLaughlin’s Parker series. Well, unless they go for a well-written reboot, I don’t see a successful franchise.

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