Let’s face it, most action movies starring Jason Statham don’t require too much thought or attention, which is actually one of the primary reasons why a lot of them are so fun. Some of my favorite action films are The Transporter trilogy and the two Crank movies, but recently, Statham has been kind of in a low spot in his career with films like Blitz, the only moderately entertaining Safe, and his 2013 film Parker. I really wasn’t thinking anything much of it before I watched it, but as I was watching it I realized my suspicions were almost correct. This film is nothing special, but for certain reasons it is a little bit better than what Jason Statham has been in recently.
Parker (Jason Statham) is professional thief who operates with his own strict moral code, so when he is hired to lead a job with a bunch of criminals who firmly believe that they can do anything to get the job done, personalities clash in a very bad way. After being left for dead by a member of the crew, Melander (Michael Chiklis), Parker starts a one man quest for revenge that takes him to the sunny and comfortable land of Palm Beach, Florida. While down there, Parker takes on the false identity of an oil magnate from Texas and enlists the help of struggling real estate agent Leslie Rogers (Jennifer Lopez) to covertly track down Melander, uncover his grand plan for his next heist, and ultimately get his revenge and his money.
Here’s the gospel truth: this movie is one of the most nothing special movies I may have ever seen, although I will say that there were points where it felt like it was trying. The biggest problem with Parker is that it’s just way too generic. Going back to The Transporter and Crank, those were Jason Statham movies that had material, scenes, and style that made them memorable. Parker doesn’t. Even Parker as a character is made generic. A criminal with a strict moral code that convinces the audience he’s a good guy? Doesn’t that sound like every other Jason Statham movie ever? I know that these movies are supposed to just be entertainment, but this gets old after a while. It all just feels so tired if there’s nothing in the movie that spices it up.
Let me give this movie some credit though. There were parts in it that were really entertaining. Hearing Jason Statham try his best to go full Southern is hilarious and Michael Chiklis really hams it up as the villainous Melander. Even Jennifer Lopez brings some nice moments of drama and comedic relief, even though her character is pretty much useless. The best parts of the movie, and I say this without any shock, are the action sequences. One brutal scene in particular where Parker fights an assassin in a hotel suite was particularly satisfying and pretty much raised the standards of the film from being hopelessly bland to mediocre. Unfortunately, there are only a few other scenes like this in the movie, and never do they reach this level of intensity. This leads me into what may be my biggest complaint of the movie.
The structure of this movie is just too weird. It starts as a heist movie, turns into a revenge story, then some weird con/buddy movie, and then revenge again. Like, what is this movie supposed to even be? Not to mention there’s a mysterious Chicago mafia boss that is talked about for the entire movie and is only seen for almost thirty seconds at the very end of the movie. It felt like they had this big scene or twist with this guy planned and it just never came to be. I was really enjoying the movie for what it was at the beginning, but once Parker gets to Palm Springs, everything just gets so distracted and misused, which makes me wonder this movie would have been better if it was just 15 or 20 minutes shorter.
Listen, I don’t want it to seem like I hated Parker. It’s not that I hated it, but more that I thought it was just nothing too special. If you’re a Jason Statham fan, like myself, I’m sure you’ll be able to find something to really enjoy with this movie, or at least kill a few hours. It’s time well spent if you’re enjoying yourself. I will say, however, that Statham has been in much better movies than this one. Compared to some of his recent stinkers, it’s a step above them and has its redeeming qualities. If you aren’t a fan of Statham’s other movies, you’re gonna hate this one. It’s ultimately a mediocre entry into his filmography.