Movie review: 'Parker'
By Michael O'Sullivan
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Parker, the eponymous antihero of Taylor Hackford’s serviceable action thriller, is an odd duck.
Partly, it’s the quaint code of ethics espoused by this gentleman thief (Jason Statham), who shoots a guy in the leg before robbing him and then calls him an ambulance. It’s unusual enough, I suppose, that Parker will only steal from those “who can afford it” and hurt those “who deserve it,” as he puts it. Shooting in an extremity, presumably, doesn’t count as hurting.
That’s understandable, considering that Parker himself seems to have a congenital insensitivity to pain. Covered in scars from previous injuries, Parker is shot -- twice -- and left for dead early in the film, when four accomplices in a robbery (Michael Chiklis, Wendell Pierce, Micah Hauptman and Clifton Collins Jr.) decide that they don’t want to split the proceeds with him.
After being rescued by a farmer and self-medicating with a quick dose of stolen Demerol, Parker sets about hunting down the double-crossers, who are planning another heist, so he can enforce his Robin Hood-ian moral code on them. Although the outcome is never in doubt, it’s satisfying, like pot roast and gravy.
With the assistance of an opportunistic real estate agent (Jennifer Lopez), who sort of becomes his partner in crime, Parker tracks down the other bad guys in Palm Beach. There, while he waits for the new heist to go down, he kills time by avoiding a hit man (Daniel Bernhardt) who has been sent to kill him -- for good this time -- by the mobster (Kip Gilman) who employs his former confederates.
This entails a fight sequence in which Parker impales his own hand on the would-be assassin’s knife, in order to disarm him. It’s nauseatingly graphic, as well as pretty darn cool. Of course, Parker’s back in business quickly after the injury, like Wolverine.
Although the reliably rocklike Statham lacks Hugh Jackman’s zest, he makes for a dependably watchable warrior. With flashes of dark humor (in a script by John J. McLaughlin, based on Richard Stark’s novel “Flashfire”) and Lopez’s sex appeal, “Parker” the movie, like the man, delivers exactly as promised.
Contains violence, obscenity and brief nudity.