Cinematic Thoughts for Cinematic Minds
Director: Taylor Hackford
The latest in a string of sub-par action films starring “The Stath” is Parker; a plodding crime thriller adapted from the nineteenth instalment in a series of novels about a thief who deals in big jobs and big morals.
Parker (Statham) takes part in a heist at the Ohio State Fair (I know this because a gigantic, floating red sign told me so) only to be rather unkindly shot twice and kicked into a river afterward for not agreeing to be part of an even bigger score being planned.
After sneaking out of hospital, he earns his namesake by stealing about 20 different vehicles within the next 10 minutes and eventually tracks his old partners down to Palm Beach, Florida, which also has a giant, red floating sign above it, so I was left in no doubt whatsoever of where I was.
It is there, under the guise of a Texan business tycoon, that he meets Jennifer Lopez who is struggling to get by as an estate agent who still lives with her mother. Obviously the market for glamour models has gone dry in Florida judging from what I saw of the estate agents.
Anyway Parker hatches a plan to let his ex-thief-buddies steal millions of dollars’ worth of jewellery and then rob them after.
If my plot overview seems a bit lacklustre it’s because just trying to think about all the filling between the main points of this film is making me want to go to sleep. Everything is dragged out from the scenes following J-Lo’s mundane existence to Nick Nolte’s painfully arduous line deliveries. The effort to understand or care about what he was saying put me under more strain than Oscar Pistorius’ lawyers.
Parker’s girlfriend appears a couple of times but the points of these appearances escapes me. Good luck finding something to interest you about her by the way.
In fact, the eponymous anti-hero does stand out in a cast of very wooden characters as a man who “never steals from someone who can’t afford it” and “never hurts someone who doesn’t deserve it”. This strict code of principle is very reminiscent of the Transporter series which boosted Statham’s profile but Parker never seems to put this to much dramatic impact. It’s no fault of Statham’s that it’s such a drag half the time, in fact he seems to exude more confidence as a leading man in this and his Texan accent is far better than the god-awful half-yank, half-cockney hybrid accent he’s concocted in the past. As always, it’s a thrill to watch the man do his thing in what few action scenes this film has. Between those though there’s not much else besides J-Lo’s cheap excuse for de-robing and playing “Count The Stolen Cars” or “Spot The Floating Red Signs” to keep anybody’s interest from waning.
This was another disappointment in my wait for Statham to be cast as lead in a solid, exciting action film where his penchant for spectacular stunts and watch-ability as an action icon won’t be wasted.