Review by C.J. Bunce
It was one of our 24 films to look for in 2013 that we previewed here at borg.com at the end of last year. With Parker you have Jason Statham’s umpteenth role as a thief who knows how to fight. Really, how can you go wrong?
Parker (Jason Statham) is a professional thief, whose old friend and mentor Hurley (Nick Nolte) asks him to do a job with a five-man crew he hasn’t worked with before, made up of Melander (The Fantastic Four I and II and The Shield’s Michael Chiklis), Carlson (Wendell Pierce), Ross (Star Trek 2009’s #2 Romulan Clifton Collins Jr.). The result is a successful crime, but the men betray him, shoot him, and leave him for dead, and the bulk of the movie is Parker’s efforts after recovery to locate and plan the ultimate revenge for the crew.
Parker is a solid effort and will be appreciated by Statham fans for his ability to make a reliable and fun action flick time and time again. Other efforts have tried to take on Westlake’s anti-hero. This one is definitely better than Mel Gibson’s loose take of Donald E. Westlake’s famous thief in 1999’s Payback. Statham is far more believable at pulling off all the action sequences and surviving being shot and left for dead. In fact, although it’s not as exciting and intriguing as the all star ensemble Statham pictures The Bank Job and The Italian Job, it’s great to watch Statham be a lone survivor you might find Clint Eastwood play in the 1960s–without a support team. Statham’s a good leading actor on his own.
A surprising hit is co-star Jennifer Lopez who is endearing as a real estate agent in a dead-end job, selling multi-million dollar homes to snobs in Palm Beach, Florida–homes she thinks she will never be able to afford. Lopez provides plenty of comic relief for a film full of non-stop guns and blood and plenty of collateral damage. Even her mom, played by Patti LuPone, provides a nice addition to balance all of the film’s darker scenes.
Nick Nolte is refreshing in a small role as a sort of washed-up partner in crime whose character doesn’t follow the typical path that mentors take in recent action films.
Look for a key action sequence where Parker is finally confronted by a hired gun in his apartment. Parker takes a blade through his hand before hanging with the guy over a multi-story high-rise balcony.
Statham doesn’t disappoint in a film that would have starred Jean-Claude Van Damme or Chuck Norris in decades past. Even if Parker may follow a rehashed action movie revenge plot, it’s what mid-budget action movies should be.