Parker (Jason Statham) may be a criminal, he doesn’t have a conscience: he only steals from the rich, and he always does what he says.
After a succesful robbery of a carnival, Parker is asked by his accomplices to participate in a much bigger operation, but he will have to give back his cut from this job as it’s needed to fun the next. Parker, however, decides to keep his take and wishes the others the best of luck, something that isn’t taken kindly by the others who shoot him and leave him for dead besides the road.
The movie would have been a bit short if this were the end so Parker gets found by a family who take him to the nearest hospital where he gets patched up and manages to escape before the cops get to interrogate him. Seriously pissed he decides to take revenge and follows his former crew mates to Palm Beach where they’ve planned a major heist. With the help of a local real estate agent (Jennifer Lopez) Parker plans carefully how to get back at them…
Parker is based on the book “Flashfire” by Donald E. Westlake (under alter ego Richard Stark) and if the character sounds familiar it’s not just your imagination. Westlake’s work has been brought to the big screen before, but the lead character usually got a different name; Mel Gibson in “Payback” was called Porter, while Lee Marvin went by the name Walker in “Point Blank”. And that’s only two of many movies with this character. Luckily this time he got to keep his name at least.
Although, luckily? This newest movie about Parker succeeds despite a pretty decent cast (Statham, Lopez, Michael Chiklis, Wendell Pierce, Nick Nolte) to do little more than just about any other movie in this genre. Statham gets doublecrossed, goes looking for revenge, and all the time we really have the idea we could exchange Parker by just about any other movie featuring Statham in the lead. Jennifer Lopez is brought in to make sure the movie doesn’t get too generic, but the scenes where she tries to get close to Parker feel forced and all but credible. Also the opponents leave little to expect from as if there truly is a blueprint in Hollywood about how to play a bad guy, here it gets followed to the letter!
Parker is a pretty generic action movie that runs on a few fun action scenes but never manages to truly cluster you to your seat. At no time does director Taylor Hackford succeed in making the tension cut or deliver the movie any originality or depth. This gets brought to light even more by using city views with text across them, a given that fans of the TV series Fringe know all too well, and flashbacks that add nothing to the story. No, we prefer Payback with Mel Gibson in the lead!
What Parker does do good is image and sound and in such a way we’ve scored the blu-ray one extra point for it. Some scenes have a rather hard white background (like the opening scene at the carnival) but it does work pretty well. There no lack of detail, and also the used color palette can be called good while there’s little to complain about the black levels either. The DTS-HD 5.1 track is equally of high quality with a wide range, clear dialogues and good use of effects and their placing. The surround speakers and subwoofer are perfectly used to make the quite generic material we get in the movie a bit more interesting.
The extras start with an audio commentary by director Taylor Hackford that isn’t all too interesting, followed by a 7 minute making off called “Bringing the Hunter to Life: The Making of Parker”. As expected due to the short time this isn’t much to write home about either, and that can also be said of “Who is Parker?” which lasts 3 minutes and in which the cast & crew again spill some small bits of info on their characters.