Parker

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Parker (Jason Statham) is a professional thief, who doesn’t steal from the poor or hurt innocent people. His mentor Hurley (Nick Nolte) asks him to do a five-man job with a crew he doesn’t know, which consists of Melander (Michael Chiklis), Carlson (Wendell Pierce), Ross (Clifton Collins Jr.) and Hardwicke (Michah Hauptman). The job is successful, but Parker refuses to go further with another plan that will earn them millions. They shoot him and leave him to die in a lake. Having barely survived, he is found by a family who take him to the hospital, where he chokes out a male nurse, steals his uniform, and escapes. He robs a check cashing store to get funds, shooting one proprietor in the leg, and stealing a woman’s car parked outside. Parker tells Hurley that he wants to go after Melander for double-crossing him, who he later discovers is in Palm Beach, Florida for another heist. The crew learn that he is alive, and uses their mob connections to get a hit-man named Kroll (Daniel Bernhardt) to go after Parker. He tries to kidnap Hurley’s daughter and Parker’s girlfriend Claire (Emma Booth). She narrowly escapes and goes into hiding at a Fish Camp. Hurley is worried and suggests Parker run away with Claire, but he refuses, completely intent on revenge against Melander.

Parker travels to Palm Beach and poses as a Texan named Daniel Parmitt. Leslie Rodgers (Jennifer Lopez) is a depressed, unsuccessful real-estate agent living with her mother (Patti LuPone), and struggling financially after a divorce. She is thrilled when Parker (as Parmitt) appears to become interested in her properties, because she is desperate for a commission. Leslie soon becomes suspicious when Parker only takes interest in a house that a man named Rodrigo is renting. In reality, Rodrigo is Melander, and is staying in this house with the crew in anticipation of a $50 million dollar jewelry auction from which they plan to steal jewels. Leslie becomes suspicious and eventually finds out that Daniel Parmitt is a fake identity. She offers her knowledge of the area as help to Parker, if he will give her a commission. He considers it after making her strip to make sure she isn’t wearing a wire. Together, they plan to steal the jewels from Melander after he robs them from the auction. Leslie kisses Parker, but he stops it from going any further.

Before the auction, Melander’s crew disguise themselves as movers to plan their heist. They soon learn that Parker is in Palm Beach, and send Kroll to kill him. After a bloody fight, Kroll stabs Parker through the hand, but ends up falling from a balcony and dying. The next morning, Palm Beach Sheriff’s Deputy Jake Fernandez (Bobby Cannavale) arrives with questions for Leslie about Daniel after learning that she was in business with him. She is shocked when she discovers a bloody Parker hiding in her house, and tells Jake that Daniel was a waste of her time. At her workplace, Leslie is horrified when she watches a video of Kroll’s death online, which was filmed by local onlookers. When she gets back to her condo, Claire is there stitching up Parker’s wounds. Leslie is hurt, believing she had a chance to be with Parker romantically. Claire goes back into hiding at the Fish Camp.

The crew successfully steal the jewels at the auction, and swim back to the house, where a weak and injured Parker has already arrived. Worried that Parker might get hurt, Leslie makes her way to the house and begins snooping around the garden. She is found and taken inside, where the crew abuse and grill her with questions, assuming she is working with Parker. Melander finds Parker and a fight ensues. Carlson starts to molest Leslie, and she shoots him multiple times with a gun she noticed under the table. Melander is eventually killed after Parker stabs and shoots him. All members of the crew end up dead. Parker and Leslie arrange for the jewels to be hidden and for her to receive her cut. She tells him that she never did have a chance to be with him, and they part ways. Six months later, Parker goes to Chicago and kills the mafia boss who hired Kroll to kill him. A year later, Leslie receives a hefty box in the mail containing bundles of hundred dollar bills. In the final scene before the credits, the tomato farmers who saved Parker’s life are talking to somebody about how they got all this money that changed their lives, and they credit the stranger they rescued, who they think was an angel sent to test them.

REVIEW:

Earlier this week, I was talking to a friend about how much I love Jason Statham movies. There is just something about the way he kicks ass and takes names that really appeals to me. I’ve been anxiously waiting for Netflix to deliver Parker so that I can get my next dose of Statham, and guess what came in today!

What is this about?

Parker is a thief who lives by a personal code of ethics: Don’t steal from people who can’t afford it, and don’t hurt people who don’t deserve it. But when his crew double-crosses him, Parker teams up with an unlikely partner to even the score.

What did I like?

Parker. No one plays the antihero better than Jason Statham. I don’t know much about Parker, but is does seem that Statham was born to play him. Bringing in a charisma and confidence that all of his roles exhibit, he also shows that he’s a real man’s man, kicking ass and getting the girl (2 of them to be precise).

Heist. The initial heist for some reason, reminded me of The Transporter, even though he did more than drive. Come to think of it, he wasn’t driving it all, but my mind still went there. The heist is really the major plot point for this film, because without it going awry, then this would not have gone on to become a revenge thriller instead of just a crime flick.

Scenery. I will never complain about seeing south Florida as a setting in film. The neighborhoods that are often used are just gorgeous. In this case, we get to see the rich neighborhoods, which often are the most appealing. Too bad there weren’t any pool/ocean scenes with lots of bikini clad girls walking about.

What didn’t I like?

Action. It seems that lately I am constantly being derided for my love of action in movies. Don’t get me wrong, I was content with the story here, but it seemed to drag on a bit. I may just be spoiled by other Statham films like the Crank movies, because this tends to be a common complaint when I watch his films of late.

Comic relief. I love Jennifer Lopez to a certain extent. She was some much needed eye candy and comic relief for this film, but I felt as if she was trying a bit too hard either to be funny or step out of her comfort zone, because at times she was grating on my nerves. Also, I couldn’t help but feel awkward watching her scenes with Statham. The two of them just don’t have chemistry, but she does seem to have a nice rapport with Bobby Cannavale, if that counts for anything.

Accent. As a native Texan, the Texas accent Statham put on while he was masquerading as a rich oil tycoon from San Antonio was far from accurate. It was offensive the way some southern accents tend to be, but it was quite obvious no one worked with him on getting it right. Maybe Statham is like Simon Pegg, and just doesn’t do well speaking anything but his native British dialect.

In conclusion, Parker is not a bad film, but it isn’t necessarily a good one, either. There are moments of violence, some comic relief, an attempt at a good story, and all the pieces for this to be a really great and enjoyable flick, but they just don’t come together the way they should. The result is a nearly joyless almost bore, which is really a shame since there was such high hopes coming from me about this film. That being said, I would still gladly watch it again. Do I recommend it, though? Yes and no. If you’re the kind that’s into a quick action thriller, then you might enjoy this, but if you’re more looking for that flick that will change the world, this is not for you!

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

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