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2013 | 118 min | R | 2.39:1



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User reviews

1 user review

Movie appeal




Theatrical release date

 25 January, 2013
 25 January, 2013

Country of origin

 United States

Box office




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Screenshots from Parker Blu-ray

Parker Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, January 25, 2013

“Parker” feels like a three-hour movie that was whittled down to two hours due to test screening complaints. As a story, it’s all over the place, whipping around last names and refusing any deeper inspection of motivation. As a bruising offering of crime film entertainment, “Parker” is more successful, staging compelling heists and mano-a-mano contests of strength. The entire production fails to gel into a cohesive whole, yet parts of the picture remain agreeably distracting, while stars Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez deliver what they’ve been paid for, adding brawn and sex appeal when needed. It’s a messy effort with plot holes galore, yet director Taylor Hackford manages to convince with the essential elements. Just don’t think about the details too hard.

Parker (Jason Statham) is a career criminal looking to make a decent score by robbing the Ohio State Fair with a team of strangers, organized by his trusted friend, Hurley (Nick Nolte). When the team pulls off the crime, it’s a messy job, with blowhard associate Melander (Michael Chiklis) demanding Parker pony up his take as seed money for a future job involving jewelry. Unwilling to join the impromptu plan, Parker is left for dead by his fellow crooks. Recovering from his wounds, Parker makes his way to Palm Beach, Florida to retrieve his money and thwart Melander’s plan, using help from Leslie (Jennifer Lopez), a financially desperate real estate agent who’s uncovered Parker’s true identity, asking to join his mission for a small slice of the take. Reluctantly accepting her offer, Parker looks to remain one step ahead of Melander and his goons (including Clifton Collins Jr., Wendell Pierce, and Micah A. Hauptman) while dodging attention from the Chicago Mob, who’s also after the resurrected troublemaker.

Adapted from the Donald Westlake novel “Flashfire,” “Parker” is not the first round of cinematic mischief from the titular character. Previously depicted by Mel Gibson in 1999’s “Payback” and by Lee Marvin in 1967’s “Point Blank,” Parker is a popular guy, with a world of double-crosses and teeth-grinding revenge stories to probe, making Hackford’s interest understandable. Working from a script by John J. McLaughlin (“Hitchcock”), the director revels in the noir-scented aspects of the story, cooking up a tempting opening scene at the Ohio State Fair, where Parker and his suspicious partners steal a fortune from ticket sales. The introductory heist also isolates the lead character’s sense of compassion while engaging in ugly business, reassuring hysterical witnesses that he’s only after the loot, not a body count (though his sense of fair play is a little skewed). Outside of the fact that Midwestern state fairs are rarely employed as locations for Hollywood action movies, “Parker” grabs attention from the get-go, delivering dependable thrills as temperaments are solidified, mistakes are made, and the plot is set in motion. It’s not smoothly executed, but energy and mood are there, defined by Hackford (director of “Ray,” “An Officer and a Gentleman,” and “The Devil’s Advocate”) in a refreshingly meaty manner.

Once Parker heals up and begins his plan of revenge, Hackford loses control of the story, unable to communicate certain relationships clearly as the tale takes on an increasing number of characters and plot turns. The literary transition is bumpy, especially as Parker’s plan widens to disturb the Chicago Mob, endanger girlfriend Claire (Emma Booth), and panic Hurley, who offers his own money to pacify his friend’s temper. Nolte’s character is emblematic of the editorial woes restraining “Parker,” initially identified as the ringleader of the state fair scheme, only to show a strange ignorance of the outcome, despite its fiery resolution involving the death of a fairgoer, with the story ending up all over the news. The whole mafia subplot is also hazily defined, not given enough attention to challenge Parker’s quest in a satisfying manner. There’s also a question of Leslie, whose contribution to a climatic showdown scenario is absurdly arranged, lacking a sensible motivation that would compel a fragile real estate agent to dive into the deep waters of disorganized crime. A lot of questions are left behind at the end of the picture, finding Hackford simply overwhelmed with the challenge of assembly, creating a disjointed feature that suggests it was at one point a clearly arranged puzzle of people, places, and things.

When “Parker” isn’t going cross-eyed, it’s actually quite entertaining, hitting traditional highlights involving Statham clobbering baddies and growling threats, while Lopez makes an uncharacteristically positive impression as Leslie, communicating a clear sense of frustration and misguided sexual interest in Parker. The pair share chemistry, and while they’re not creatively challenged, they fill their respective roles with enthusiasm, easing the effort over troubling narrative hurdles. “Parker” is a mess at times, but never a deflating one, maintaining a satisfactory pace and junky sense of escapism, stumbling to a passable sit.

Starring: Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte, Michael Chiklis, Clifton Collins, Jr., Emma Booth
Director: Taylor Hackford

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Parker, Forum Discussions

Last post
Parker (Jason Statham) 26 Feb 27, 2013
RIP Robert B. Parker 1932-2010 10 Jan 28, 2010
Alan Parker films! 6 Sep 02, 2011

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