Parker (Jason Statham) is a criminal who lives by his own set of rules that he feels are the fairest to all parties. As he stands over the prostrate victims of his criminal acts, he tells them in his soothing gravelly tones “I don’t steal from anyone who couldn’t afford it, and I don’t hurt anyone who didn’t deserve it“.
Unfortunately it is Parker who decides who deserves what, and quite often the punishment comes in the form of small arms fire to the leg, often multiple times for repeated infractions.
So don’t cross Parker unless you want to limp.
Parker also has his own personal motto “If I say it, I’ll do it“. As a man of few words he never gets around to saying “I’ll make this film worth your while”, and because the director keeps things at a snail’s pace – it just doesn’t happen.
When Parker ends up at the wrong end of a double cross after a pointlessly elaborate heist (why wear clown suits if your just going to break in anyway? Surely clowns at a fair attract more attention than regular people?), he finds himself in a ditch, covered in blood from numerous open wounds and full of bullets that entered him before and after his leap from a moving car onto the highway.
No biggie. After stealing an ambulance, hiring a motel room and growing a moustache, Parker is ready to exact revenge upon the foursome who betrayed him. The only problem is that they have already presumed him dead and moved on to the next job in Palm Beach.
So that’s where Parker goes, and after donning an intricate disguise in the form of a big white cowboy hat, its where he meets Lesley (Scrags Lopez), a high end real estate agent desperate for either a target for her gold digging or a commission, whichever comes first – and you thought there was no way J-Lo could be more unlikable.
There are two major problems with Parker. The first is that the director obviously feels he is making a modern day Out of Sight, only he doesn’t have the script, the carefully realised plot, the music or the overriding sense of cool. Also try as he might (and Statham never tries), Statham is no Clooney, and 2013 J-Lo isn’t even close to 1995 wide eyed, big bottomed Jennifer Lopez (who rode that big ass to undeserved fame).
But Out of Sight lite aspirations could be overlooked with a little action and some compelling plot developments. Which brings me to the second, larger, problem. Parker has so many things introduced and never used, neither as red herrings or as contributors to the action. This is why we get to see Nick Nolte’s impersonation of Ben Grimm, only after he froze halfway into transforming into the Thing. This is why Parker has a wife and Lesley, both kind of around without anything really ever coming from it. Hell, this is why Parker’s near death experience initially seemed to indicate something more, only nothing eventuated. There’s a one minute post script that is tacked onto the end, with the character in it as surprised as we are that he was even remembered…
At two hours Parker is 40 minutes long and carries two or three characters that should have never existed – my vote as always goes to Lopez. Statham is a dour expressionless guy who is good at being serious and cracking skulls where necessary, a couple of the skull cracking, limp creating moments were ok, but they were few and far between.
I just wish Parker once said “it’ll all be ok”. But he didn’t. And this isn’t.
Final Rating – 6 / 10. If you want to inject a personality to offset Statham’s lack of, try to make sure that it isn’t the most obnoxious and reprehensible woman in the world.