Rated R for strong violence, language throughout and brief sexual content/nudity
Available on: DVD, Blu-ray, digital download and on demand
It would be nice to see Jason Statham try something more demanding than his standard, tough-guy role. Still, he has so thoroughly perfected the part that it’s easy to enjoy his performances.
In “Parker,” Statham goes back to the well, playing the title character: a professional thief with an interesting code of ethics. In an early scene, Parker says he won’t steal from people who can’t afford it, won’t hurt people who don’t deserve it and always follows through on a promise. Since most of this code is subjective, it amounts to nothing more than screenwriter John J. McLaughlin telling viewers they should root for Parker, even though he’s a calculating criminal. That’s important because most of the movie revolves around his tracking and killing even nastier villains.
The setup comes in an exciting opening sequence where Parker and a group of thugs rob the Ohio State Fair. Before they can split the earnings, however, the group turns on Parker and leaves him for dead on the side of a road. He then spends the rest of the movie seeking revenge.
The simplistic plot adds nothing new to the action genre, but veteran director Taylor Hackford (“An Officer and a Gentleman,” “Ray”) does a fine job with the presentation. The action scenes are exciting and well staged, and the characters – although not particularly deep – are interesting.
Statham’s supporting cast includes Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte, Michael Chiklis and Clifton Collins Jr. All of them are serviceable, but they are supporting actors in the truest sense of the term, meaning Statham does all the heavy listing. The fact that every movie fan has seen him perform this same workout is discouraging. Still, he goes through the motions with such charisma and ease, that it’s easy to get sucked in.
DVD and Blu-ray extras include two making-of features and an audio commentary by Hackford.
By Forrest Hartman