Certain actors become so well known for the type of films that they are in that this reputation can serve as a handicap if they are attached to the wrong project. With Tom Hanks, audiences expect him to be playing a character with a certain degree of likeability. With Zack Galifianakis, oddball humor is to be expected, and Jason Statham brings the demands of non-stop action. Fans don’t want to see Statham attempting to act; they want him to bring his typical bad-ass persona to each and every project. With genre actors, familiarity is preferred over variety, which actors like Christian Bale or Gary Oldman excel at. Statham’s latest action vehicle, Parker, has the storyline of a straightforward action film but gets a little too caught up in extraneous additions. The largest of these is actress Jennifer Lopez, whose character simply serves as an anchor to the film’s narrative.
When you take away the stupid disguises that Statham wears throughout the film and the unnecessary and barely useful side-kick played by Lopez, Parker is a clear-cut crime revenge film very similar to many other action films. The title character played by Statham is a thief with a strict moral code of ethics: “Don’t steal from people who can’t afford it and don’t hurt people who don’t deserve it.” This works fine for Parker, but when he does a job with a group of thieves that do things differently, he ends up half-dead on the side of the road.
After a quick recovery, Parker sets out to hunt down the group of men who double-crossed him (headed up by Michael Chiklis). He tracks them to
and disguises himself as a wealthy
Texan mogul in order to find out where their hideout is. Parker enlists the
help of a hapless real estate agent named Leslie (Lopez) for this task, and
once she discovers that he is lying, Parker can’t seem to get rid of her. Palm Beach
I’m not quite certain if Lopez was meant to provide comedic relief or was simply another name actor that they could cram somewhere into the storyline. She is now too old to be Parker’s romantic lead, though the film does have some fun ridiculing Leslie for assuming Parker wants to sleep with her when he actually has a much younger lover already. Nick Nolte also shows up for a few scenes, though all of this simply detracts from the action that audiences came to see this film for in the first place.
The Blu-ray includes a commentary with director Taylor Hackford, as well as a making-of featurette and a few other extras. These are also included on the DVD, but exclusive to the Blu-ray disc are two additional featurettes. One of them is about action and the other about the origin of Parker.
Entertainment Value: 7.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10
Historical Significance: 3/10
Disc Features: 7/10