Parker (R)

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Review byMatthew Turner9/03/2013

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 118 mins

Enjoyably trashy heist/revenge thriller with decent fight sequences and strong performances from Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez, though the pacing drags a little in the middle section.

What's it all about?
Directed by Taylor Hackford and based on the novels by Donald E. Westlake, Parker stars Jason Statham as career criminal Parker, who's double-crossed and left for dead by his new partners (Michael Chiklis, Clifton Collins Jr, Micah Hauptman and Wendell Pierce) after pulling off a fairground heist. Seeking a combination of revenge plus his original cut, Parker tracks the gang to Palm Springs where they're planning a multi-million dollar jewel heist.

Once in Palm Springs, Parker enlists the aid of sparky estate agent Leslie (Jennifer Lopez), who, in turn, sees Parker as the solution to her money problems, so she inveigles her way into his revenge scheme. Meanwhile, Parker learns from his mentor Hurley (Nick Nolte) that the Chicago mob have a vested interest in the upcoming jewel heist and have threatened his daughter, Parker's girlfriend Claire (Emma Booth).

The Good
Jason Statham is on top growly form as Parker, dishing out both bone-crunching violence and wisecracks with aplomb (sample exchange: ‘How do you sleep at night?’/’I don't drink coffee after seven’) and sparking strong chemistry with Lopez (also on top form). There's also strong support from Nolte, and Chiklis makes a reliably solid adversary, but all three henchmen and Emma Booth are rather underwritten by comparison and the script gives them nothing interesting to do.

Director Taylor Hackford knows his way around a fight sequence and the violence is well executed and sharply edited throughout. Highlights include Parker trying to get information out of a thug in a bar (‘Plus, there's the added humiliation of being killed by a chair...’) and an extremely grisly scrap in a hotel room (which you might want to close your eyes for if you're a bit squeamish). In addition, the heist sequences are nicely handled, thanks to some skilful editing, heightened by David Buckley's excellent score.

The Bad
The main problem with the film is that the initially fast pacing slows considerably in the middle section and the film feels around twenty minutes too long as a result. Similarly, the climax is a little underwhelming given the build-up beforehand and there's a sense that certain character details have been trimmed down.

Worth seeing?
Parker is an enjoyably trashy heist-slash-revenge thriller, enlivened by strong performances from Statham and Lopez and some decent action sequences. Worth seeing.

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Content updated: 06/12/2019 23:24

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