Parker (film) Review

Donald E. Westlake, also known under the pseudonym Richard Stark, is responsible for a character who has apparently blossomed into a pop-culture sweetheart in recent years - the hard boiled, remorseless criminal known only as Parker.

Probably best known to my fellow geeks from Darwyn Cooke's comic book adaptations through IDW, Parker is back but this time on celluloid starring everyones favourite action hero, Jason Statham. Before delving into the review, I'll admit to having never read the source material so any comment on the physical appearance of the character is purely based on research. That said, this seems to be somewhat of another "Jack Reacher" conundrum.

The film starts with a very well choreographed sequence involving a heist at the Ohio State Fair followed by stuff that happens which makes Parker mad. Parker gets so mad that he goes to Florida to make some people dead. That's as well a synopsis as you can get without having some of the minor plot points spoiled for you. Frankly, the film is a little light on in he plot department but still makes for a better experience than many of Statham's other films. That said, Parker has a healthy dose of Statham's trademark fisticuffs and storytelling to keep just about everyone happy. 

The biggest downfall of this film is that you struggle to feel any semblance of empathy for any of the characters. When surrounded by thieves and murders, it's hard to feel any sense of emotion when they're injured or knocked off. In fact, the only real "innocent" in this film is Leslie Rodgers, played by Jennifer Lopez, and even then her motivations and interest in Parker are almost entirely self serving. Without some form of emotional attachment, there's no particular weight given to the constant conflict however still manages to be less hollow than Crank.

Parker is the sort of film that is chock to the brim with actors who you may know by face, but not by name including that Mexican guy with the bow tie from Pacific Rim (Clifton Collins Jr), the Thing from Fantastic Four and The Shield (Michael Chiklis), that guy that looks like a cross between Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller (Bobby Cannavale) and that guy who you thought was Carl from Family Matters but is actually Detective Moreland from The Wire (Wendell Pierce). There's absolutely nothing wrong with having these guys on board and each one of them perform admirably. In fact, I've got a soft spot for Collins Jr. He's the kind of actor who nails it on every occasion.

Director Taylor Hackford is capable of incredible things, being responsible for Ray, but ultimately Parker falls short and is no more than a shallow example of the heist film genre albeit interspersed with a smattering of Stathamesque dust ups.

Parker is available on Blu Ray and DVD from the 17th of July 2013.

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