Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
Genre: Action, Crime, Thriller
Run Time: 1 hour, 58 minutes, Rated R
Starring: Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte, Michael Chiklis, Wendell Pierce, Clifton Collins Jr., Patti LuPone, Bobby Cannavale
Written by John J. McLaughlin (Black Swan), based on the novel "Flashfire" by Richard Stark
Directed by Taylor Hackford (Love Ranch, Ray, Proof of Life, The Devil's Advocate, An Office and a Gentleman)
Parker is one of the worst, low-brow examples of so-called "entertainment" to hit theaters in quite a while. It's equivalent to sitting a young kid in front of the TV for a show like OogieLoves, where you know that there is no redeeming value. It's a time-waster that tries to entertain with flashes of color, sound and visual stimulation. Parker is sure to please those who go into the theater, clapping and laughing at the screen, with no intention of actually engaging their senses into something remotely meaningful.
Don't get me wrong, there is a such thing as "mindless entertainment." But those with a functioning brain should stay away from Parker. There are simply better options, like watching paint dry.
Action hero flavor-of-the-month Jason Statham plays the title character, a horrible individual who we are told to root for because, well, he is Jason Statham and he is in every scene. It's as if they forgot to flesh out the "hero" portion of "anti-hero." He is apparently a different kind of criminal killer, because he lives by a code: He is a man of his word and always follows through with what he says. Yawn, followed by barf.
The film did start out promising. The opening scene involved a heist of some kind of state fair, culminating in a massive robbery of the fair's treasury. The group of bandits, led by Michael Chiklis (Vic Mackie from The Shield) and Wendell Pierce (Bunk from The Wire), also features Micah A. Hauptman and Clifton Collins Jr. This foursome, along with Parker, pull off the heist and make their get-away.
At this point, all common sense, promise and potential flies out the window, along with Parker flinging himself out of one.
The massive holes in the plot and the overall laziness of the film-making permeate nearly every scene. Simply, it's quite shockingly awful. Left for dead, one of the bandits walks over to Parker to shoot him in the head and finish the job. He fires...and misses...and doesn't realize he misses. At point blank. Assuming he missed on purpose and that all would be explained later, was a failure on my part. As our former President Bush so eloquently stated, "Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice...look, you can't fool me twice."
From there, the film not only gets laughable, it gets boring. The entire middle hour of this film - an action film starring Jason Statham, let me remind you - contains little to no action. About midway through the movie, Jennifer Lopez appears and does little to save things. Her character, why she comes across Parker and her involvement in the story are so unbelievable, I at one point looked around the theater to ensure that I wasn't being Punk'd.
This movie is just plain bad. Characters and plot lines are introduced and then never wrapped up. Great character actors like Michael Chiklis and Wendell Pierce are reduced to horrible caricatures of other characters they have played in better movies and TV shows. Offensive stereotypes are introduced, such as J.Lo's Latino mother, played by Patti LuPone. I once again have faith that I can get my own personal screenplays green-lit in Hollywood, if I can just get a name-brand star like Statham attached.
Fitting perhaps, that Nick Nolte shows up in this thing. His voice, warbled, forced and mangled, is barely audible these days. He's a fine actor but you had to wince and painfully force your attention toward the screen in order to make sense of anything he said.
There was a whole lot of wincing going on during Parker, regardless of whether or not Nolte was in the scene.
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