There’s always something devilishly exciting about a new Jason Statham movie. Sure, it’s no Shakespeare, but the baldy British action star has enough charisma and faux-Cockney swagger to make films like The Expendables and the ludicrous Crank series entertaining, in that silly, popcorn-chomping sort of way.
Parker is no exception. Based on the novel ‘Flashfire’ from Donald E. Westlake’s hardboiled crime series, The Stath stars as the eponymous, hard-as-nails master thief with a questionable moral compass and a hulky scarred torso. After leading a successful million dollar heist on a local Ohio state fair, his crackerjack crew turn against him, leaving him bloodied, wounded and left for dead by the roadside. Unfortunately for them, Parker is seemingly indestructible, and limping with a vengeance. Deserting his girlfriend Claire (Emma Booth) and her Mafioso dad (a cameo from the gravelly voiced Nick Nolte), he hunts them down to the lavish Palm Beach Florida, and enlists a fledgling realtor Leslie (Jennifer Lopez), together they hatch a plan to catch his former crew whilst they undertake a jewellery auction heist.
The first thing worthy of mention is that the plot, like all good/bad action B-movies, is utter balderdash. What could a shrill real estate agent know about the criminal underworld? How could The Stath survive a point blank bullet wound to the chest. And, most preposterous of all, how could anyone ever believe the Brit’s lame Texan accent? Parker is the sort of film where you need to leave such questions of plausibility at the door, and just enjoy the gaudy action spectacle.
Helmed by the Oscar nominated director of The Devil’s Advocate and Ray, Taylor Hackford blends grisly film noir tropes with ultra-violent action set pieces. Getting off to a rollicking start, as the narrative takes prominence, Parker sluggishly tumbles through the two hour running time. It needs a good edit. Although J-Lo’s screen presence is magnetic, her character is entirely superfluous, attractive window dressing.
Is it a ‘good’ film. Of course not! The plot is derivative, the ‘stick ‘em up!’ dialogue cringe-worthy, and the characterisation ignominious. Nevertheless, it’s mindless entertainment, which you can’t help but succumb to.
Parker is released in cinemas across the UK & Ireland from Friday 8th March, 2013.