Cinema Review – Parker

The robbery of the Ohio State Fair goes (almost) according to plan, but Parker (Jason Statham) refuses to get involved with another heist. The rest of the gang leave him for dead, parker vows revenge, and finds an unusual sidekick in real estate dealer Leslie (Jennifer Lopez).

Bruce Willis has had a career spanning decades, and it seems that Jason Statham is determined that his career go the same way. Not only is he rocking the slaphead look, but he is sticking to action thrillers – where his strength lies – just like Mr Willis.

Writer / Director Taylor Hackford has had a varied career; Dolores Claibourne was well received, and Ray did well at the box office, but it has been years since he has had a serious hit on his hands. Based on the novel by Donald E. Westlake, there were obviously kernels of great ideas with this script, but they do not always translate on screen.

Performance wise, this is nothing we haven’t seen before. Statham plays his typical gangster type, but Parker has a specific set of rules and, when he says he will do something, he does it. No matter what. Jennifer Loppez’s character Leslie feels like she fell onto the set from a recession-era romantic comedy and, while Lopez does what she does best, the mix of the two characters feels strange.

The story is not at all complex – thief wants revenge – but the film takes so long to get where it is going that it is easy for the audience to forget why they are in the cinema and get caught up in the J-Lo rom-com that happens in the middle of the film. The pacing is a complete jumble and, although the action scenes and set pieces are entertaining, the film is overly long and could have done with being trimmed to 90-ish minutes for the sake of brevity and pacing.

Hackford does not allow Lopez and Statham to delineate, rather he relies on one playing a thief with a heart of gold, and the other a harassed woman whose life is slowly falling apart. It sounds misogynistic, and it probably is. Where Hackford excels is in the action scenes, but these are too few and far between to carry the film as a whole.

Parker feels like an uneasy union of a rom-com and an action film. Neither story is particularly fleshed out or interesting and both characters appear surprised to find themselves in the other’s caper. Statham and Lopez do what they do best, but an uninspired script means that the film ultimately falls flat.

Rating: 2/5

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