Director: Taylor Hackford | 118 minutes | crime, thriller | Actors: Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis, Wendell Pierce, Clifton Collins Jr., Bobby Cannavale, Patti LuPone, Carlos Carrasco, Micah A. Hauptman, Emma Booth, Nick Nolte, Daniel Bernhardt, Billy Slaughter
It is actually a bit strange that it took so long before a film adaptation of the book series about the character Parker by Richard Stark (pseudonym of Donald E. Westlake) was released. After all, it was already in 1962 that the first crime novel about this charismatic villain was published. And although in the meantime some films (for example the 1999 released ‘Payback’ with Mel Gibson in the lead role, which was another remake of ‘Point Blank’ (1967) with Lee Marvin) borrowed from this book series, despite the more than twenty books that have been published, no film adaptation of one of the books has been released before. With the eponymous film “Parker” it has finally come to the point that this name is actually used in a film.
In “Parker”, which is based on the book “Flashfire”, the role of the main character is played by Jason Statham. In the opening scene, after a planned raid on a local fair under his direction doesn’t go quite according to plan, Parker decides to stop working with his henchmen. His colleagues did not stick to the plan, resulting in an (innocent) death. And Parker doesn’t like that. For a criminal he has a strong philosophy of his own. That endears him, despite actually being on the wrong side of the law. However, his four colleagues have big plans for a jewelry theft that they cannot do without Parker. When he insists he doesn’t want to continue, they kill him. At least, they think so. Parker manages to survive the attack and seriously injured he swears revenge on this foursome. The chase eventually takes him to Palm Beach, Florida. With the help of a local real estate agent, Leslie (Jennifer Lopez), he tries to track down the traitors and get revenge.
A much more suitable actor than Jason Statham is hard to find for the role of Parker. Because as mentioned, Parker is a character to love as a viewer despite his criminal activities. He doesn’t kill innocent people, is loyal to his girlfriend Claire (Emma Booth) and has charms. Jason Statham is talented and charismatic enough to portray a credible Parker. As we are used to from him, he once again shows himself to be an above-average action actor. It is a pity, then, that the makers of “Parker” do not demand great deeds from him. Because while it’s funny to hear the British actor speak with a heavy Texan accent (he pretends to be a Texan when he arrives in Florida), he is capable of much more than what the film asks of him. Apart from an intense brawl in his hotel room, the action is not of a high standard.
Unfortunately, “Parker” cannot make up for this lack of really good action with a thrilling climax. The opposite is true. The role of Jennifer Lopez, who helps Parker as a frustrated Florida real estate agent with his quest for revenge, is especially shocking. The longer the film lasts, the more her character is pushed to the fore. The fact that the makers pay a lot of attention to J-Lo’s behind seems to be the only reason why this was chosen. In any case, it does not benefit the story and she seems to mainly get in Statham’s feet. It is because of this, along with the very superficial and far from terrifying four robbers that Parker is after (you wonder how they were able to nearly kill him at all), that ‘Parker’ is nowhere to be an above average thriller. knows how to rise. Instead, you are left with the feeling that this really could have been a lot more in it.