Is it possible to be an honorable thief without getting betrayed along the way? What would you do if someone betrayed you? That’s part of the premise behind the DVD release of “Parker,” which followed one man’s quest to settle an old score. The results were action packed, but the plot had been done before so many times that there weren’t too many surprises left to be had in revenge thrillers.
“Parker” followed an honorable thief named Parker (Jason Statham) who lived by his own set of rules when it came to pulling heists. Unfortunately, one of the guys on his latest crew (Michael Chiklis) had other plans to use Parker’s share to fund a much larger score. No one in the crew tried to stop him after he shot Parker and left him for dead. Surprisingly, he recovered and planned to destroy the guys who wronged him. Parker turned to his mentor Hurley (Nick Nolte) to help steer him in the right direction, but his plan left his girlfriend Claire (Emma Booth) in great danger. In an effort to protect his loved ones, Parker travelled to Palm Beach to exact his revenge. He recruited a struggling real estate agent named Leslie Rodgers (Jennifer Lopez) who had financial troubles of her own to deal with. Despite her fears, Leslie was still willing to help Parker, even when her life was in danger. Will Parker and Leslie be to able to work together and stay alive in the process?
In terms of questions, most revenge thrillers ask very few because the movie mostly revolved around the action sequences and the violent final confrontation scene. Those scenes usually take up a bulk of the film and leave very little room for character development. The character of Parker has become a literary and movie staples since the 1960s, but this time around the character seemed to be a little too thinly drawn. Sure, he had a code of ethics that moviegoers last saw in “Payback,” but that all the character seemed to have. Viewers caught a glimpse of Parker’s softer side in a few brief scenes with Booth, but they were too limited to make a lasting impression. If Parker’s revenge was motivated by more than greed, the movie might’ve had a stronger overall impact. Ultimately, Statham’s presence helped save the movie from being simple standard movie fare. He has built his career on playing tough guys who lived by their own code of ethics, but he has played the role so many times that he needed to choose a different type of role for his next film. Instead of a good guy, he could try to play a villain and battle a different tough guy. Only time will tell if Statham will decide to go that route or choose a different one entirely.
As for breakout performances, Statham and Lopez led the pack due to their characters’ unlikely partnership. It was nice to see the two of them paired up in a partnership that didn’t have any romantic entanglements involved. Their most memorable scenes involved Statham and Lopez in an acting duel as they tried to size each other up as they learned how to trust one another. The most memorable moment came when Statham tried to search Lopez for a wire, because they had to learn how to get along for better or worse. Of course, it took quite a while for that to happen. Lopez also tried to embody Leslie as someone far different than her real life persona, but the character’s early portrayal as a victim made it hard to believe sometimes. Her breakout scenes came further on in the film when she decided to take a stand and joined forces with Parker. In the end, the movie’s biggest surprise was Nolte’s brief supporting role as Statham’s friend because he gave the role his usual gusto even though the role was a limited one. It’s a shame that “Parker” had just as many hits as it did misses, because it had the potential to be a good action film if the story was up to par. Hopefully, any newer Parker reincarnations will pay closer attention to the story the next time around.
Verdict: Statham and Lopez have a comfortable rapport, but the mostly conventional plot gave little time for character development.
DVD Score: 2 out 5 stars
Movie Rating: R
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)