Wednesday, 14 August 2013


Just released on Blu-Ray this month is Jason Statham’s new action-thriller-heist-movie-film Parker starring Statham as Parker and the ageless Jennifer ‘Jenny from the block’ Lopez. Based on the series of novels, specifically Flashfire, by Donald Westlake, Parker is about a Robin Hood of sorts. I say ‘of sorts’ because he refuses to steal from the poor but keeps most of the money, though he does seem to have space for some charity. He doesn’t wear green tights, doesn’t have a theme tune that everyone knows, was never played by Rick Mayall or Russell Crowe, doesn’t live in a wood and definitely doesn’t have a band of merry men. He is english though.

Some films are great and lose many points with a crappy ending while others are ropey throughout but have a great ending. Parker falls somewhere in between, the ending wasn’t great as such but it was the greatest part of the film. The film opens with Parker taking on a country fair heist, with men he has never worked with before. The heist will earn them thousands upon thousands of moneys, and it goes relatively well. The downfall occurs when the men want to invest his side of the money into a bigger heist that will make him millions. He tells them all to piss off and ends up shot in the face lying in a lake. Assumed dead the rest of the thieves take his share of the money and proceed with their plans. He isn’t dead of course, because the film is longer than twenty minutes long.

Leslie Rodgers (Jennifer Lopez) is an estate agent that is getting closer and closer to throwing herself off the roof of her nearest bank. Which I more than understand since their charges are so obscenely over the top nowadays. The last time I went below the agreed over draft limit the Halifax put a leopard in my shower and sent a hillbilly round to rape me in my sleep. Leslie soon learns that Parker has arrived not to buy a house as he originally claimed, but to steal massive amounts of fresh jewellery from the thieves, and thieves HATE that. The thieves heist involves robbing jewellery from a very expensive auction and said jewellery will be worth more than a Brazillian teenagers virginity on ebay ($780K if you were wondering).

Since Leslie has information and resources that are useful to Parker, he agrees to let her help him figure out how to get the jewels from the heist and this instantly transforms the heist-thriller into a buddy movie. My main problem with Lopez  is that she could almost not have been in the film at all. She wasn’t a romantic interest, didn’t really add anything particularly important and didn’t really do much at all other than get in the way and once stand in a room in her undrwear like a mannequin in a storage room. Her character was less dimensional than Paper Mario in a black hole.

One of the problems Parker has, which Jack Reacher managed to avoid was being an adaptation of the nineteenth book in the series. There is no subtlety when explaining his character, that would have been well established by this point in the novels. He is a complicated thief who never steals from people who can’t afford it, and never hurts or kills innocent people. We know this because Statham’s character says it all at least twice throughout the film. Not exactly character development. Perhaps the script writers original plan was to hand out t-shirts to the props people with ‘good guy’, ‘bad guy’ and ‘complicated thief who never steals from people who can’t afford it, and never hurts or kills innocent people’ to really avoid having to think of a way to let the audience think for themselves. But then if the two most interesting bits of the film are when Jennifer Lopez drops most of her clothes for no reason and when Statham stabs himself through the hand for little reason, then perhaps trying to find the intellectual undertones mean that I was just simply not in the mood for this film at this time.

The film is a pretty standard heist movie, nothing particularly outstanding about it, no itches that Oceans 11 or The Sting wouldn’t scratch, but on the positive side it isn’t unenjoyable and the fight sequences have some pretty original ideas, including a moment when Parker, during a tense struggle with a gun, takes out the clip and stabs some guy through the shoulder with it, resulting in much blood and an entertained version of me on my sofa. General internet reviews seem to imply that Parker is a film that’s emotional eliciting value doesn’t equal much more than ‘Meh’. So I give it 3.5 Meh’s out of 5.

David Roberts, CeX Ann Street, Belfast

Parker at CeX

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