REVIEW BY INTERN JOHN SPATARO Jan. 25th, 2013
If Jason Statham hasn’t solidified himself as THE action-typecast of the 2000s by now, rest assured that his newest big screen action romp just about seals the deal.
Parker is Statham’s latest installment in the “good looking bald guy with an accent in a suit tears up an army of baddies by himself” saga and it plays just like it sounds.
Adapted from the Donald Westlake (aka Richard Stark), novel Flashfire, Parker (Statham) is a stone cold killer with a “code”. He is in the business of stealing things and business is very, very good, just as long as he follows his rules. He doesn’t steal from people who can’t afford it and he doesn’t kill anyone who doesn’t deserve to die. Sounds simple enough but alas, things never seem to go as planned.
The movie starts with Parker taking a “job” from his beautiful girlfriend’s father (Nick Nolte), who also happens to be a thief. Parker, while working with 4 men he doesn’t know very well, manages to successfully steal 1 million dollars from the Ohio State Fair. After securing the cash, Parker is offered a share of an even bigger heist from the leader of the 4 men, Melander (Michael Chiklis). Melander promises Parker a 2 million dollar share if he agrees to the heist, which Parker “politely” declines, setting off a violent battle inside of a SUV that leaves Melander and his men with the cash, and Parker left for dead on the side of the road.
After being picked up by a farmer and transported to a hospital, Parker escapes unnoticed in order to keep his ambiguity intact. Without any true identity, Parker sets off on a hunt for Melander’s crew and his money.
Parker’s bloodlust eventually lands him in Palm Beach, FL. Under a fake name and alibi, Parker cons a frustrated and depressed real estate agent, Leslie Rogers (Jennifer Lopez) into showing him some houses where he believes Melander and his men are hiding. With the help of some classic and insanely accurate database searches, Rogers eventually sniffs out Parker’s true intentions, which are “steal Melander’s bounty after Melander and his men have already stolen it”. Parker offers Rogers a cut of Melander’s heist if she can help him track them down, thus freeing her of her financial and personal woes, which Rogers empathically accepts.
From that point on is where the movie loses its touch completely. From the previews alone, it appears that Parker is a pedal to the metal action flick with more bullets than dialogue and while the beginning scene sets it up to be just that, the movie stops for gas midway through and never really gets back up to speed.
The action is there, you just have to sit through about an hour of Statham and JLO playfully developing their relationship as they try and piece together their plan of attack. Lopez is actually pretty good at portraying a recently divorced and practically bankrupt 40-year-old who can’t stand the glitz and glam of her extremely rich clients but even that can’t save some of the dull moments in-between the combat scenes.
All the elements of your typical Statham action flick are still here. Parker is seemingly invincible and has unlimited resources at his disposal. He’s a locksmith’s nightmare, as car keys really hold no value to him, or anyone for that matter. And he manages to leave piles of bodies wherever he goes without even the slightest scent of police intervention. You know what they say, if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and has a 9-inch blade stuck straight through its jugular, it’s probably a Jason Statham movie.
I can’t say this movie has an audience other than the die hard Statham fans that have been on board since Snatch but I’m sure JLO’s absolutely flawless eye candy will draw more than just the devoted fans. For those fans, this movie will fit in perfectly next to Crank and The Transporter, but it’s overdrawn buildup and unsatisfying ending make it an easy ticket to skip. Wait to rent it before you spend more than you have to on an overall mediocre action flick.