Someone please put J-Lo back to bed… ‘Parker’ (2013).

3 Mar

Parker posterThe ever-reliable Jason Statham returns to do what he does best in Parker: action, action and more action. Based on the best-selling novels by Donald E. Westlake, and directed by the Oscar-nominated Taylor Hackford (The Devil’s Advocate), Parker tells the tale of the titular title character (Statham), who must team up with insider Leslie (Jennifer Lopez) in order  to exact revenge on his treacherous former allies in crime, led by chief traitor Melander (Michael Chiklis, The Shield). Statham’s more recent movies have been living under the shadow of his early masterpiece Crank f0r a while now; can Parker emerge from the darkness and remind us why we love him so much?

No, not really. Set almost entirely in Palm Beach, Florida, the film offers a sunny background to the chaos  that unfolds. Parker basically serves as the bloodiest promotional advertisement for Palm Beach tourism ever made – very specific locations are mentioned on several occasions.While action films of late have this slightly tiresome trend of submerging every scene, landscape and skin tone in a strange murky kind of navy blue or dark green tone, this movie appears as a veritable sunflower growing amongst a garden of violets and bluebells.

However, it is a sunflower armed with a high-capacity, fully-loaded AK-47: in traditional Statham fashion, this film is violent as hell. Over-the-top and silly, the gore is what we come to expect from any film which bears his name, as bullets spray and bodies fly. It echoes Crank in terms of ludicrous mass-murder, and as usual it is undeniably awesome to watch (one particular scene that featured a knife piercing a hand was just so gnarly). But while this is no doubt entertaining, it really brings nothing new to the table; there is no shortage of brutal action flicks on which to feast your violence-obsessed eyes.

Had Parker just been a typical Jason Statham revenge picture, that would have been fine if underwhelming. The main issue this film has is its grafting on of Jennifer Lopez’s incredibly dull divorced real estate problems onto the crazy violence, and it really fails to work at all. Her and Statham have no chemistry together whatsoever, and she’s not even the love interest – Parker has a girlfriend, although she has less personality than a Ryvita cracker, and he and Lopez have zero chemistry whatsoever. There’s a scene where she is made strip down to her underwear for no good reason, and this is literally the only reason she’s in this movie: her body is being used to sell tickets to horny guys.

Satisfyingly violent but ultimately cheapened by Jennifer Lopez’s incredibly shallow inclusion, Parker is not a good movie by Statham standards.

Simon says: fun enough but very trashy.

[Written for The Student Standard]

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