Aneesh Chaganty

Parker | MAD Review

In Uncategorized on February 10, 2013 at 7:54 PM

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Parker

(2013, US, d. Taylor Hackford)

There’s not much to say about this film. Rather, there’s not much thought I would like to put into the writing of the review, simply because there really wasn’t much thought put into the writing of the script for Parker, the new film from director Taylor Hackford.

Hackford is a talented director. Three of his films of recent have garnered much critical attention, including Ray, Proof of Life, and The Devil’s Advocate. And as an Academy Award winner and President of the DGA, you’d think he would’ve been a little more selective in his next project. But alas, perhaps it was the money that proved to be the tipping point.

Parker had me laughing from the opening frames. And this is coming from someone who likes Hollywood action films. The movie opens to a “heist-gone-wrong” sequence that is very reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick’s heist in The Killing (in my opinion, the best caper film of all time)We’re at a busy carnival, people are everywhere, and betting is rampant. Of course, this would be the perfect time for a conman to dress up like a priest to gain access to the money room.

Meet Parker. As the title of the film flashes in big, bold, red lettering across the screen as we are introduced to Jason Statham’s titular character, it’s clear to see where this film is going. That was Laugh #1.

As Parker continues a successful stick-up, Hackford introduces us to the other members of the crew. We have the look-out: a hefty, black guy disguised as a cop (Wendell Pierce from The Wire). I only mention his skin color because it’s clear writer John J. McLaughlin (Laugh #2, I guess) never had any intention with the guy apart from crafting him into the stereotypical black guy. It’s almost painful to watch. Next, we have Melander (Michael Chiklis, of The Shield fame), the tough guy being set up to play the antagonist for the rest of the film. There’s a few other people I can’t really remember, but that’s only because they’re not worth remembering. 

McLaughlin almost forces us to sympathize with Parker in the opening 2 minutes. Rather than letting his actions explain his character, McLaughlin goes a different route: as Parker is transferring butt-loads of cash into his bags, he tells everyone on the ground that he would never steal from a poor person or an innocent person. Furthermore, just to stamp his “good guy” image, Parker is backstabbed, shot, and left to die by the rest of his own crew members after he refuses to invest his earnings into the next heist, which would pay out in millions. 

Seriously, what happened to really good guys who just steal cash from folks at carnivals? 

Of course, when you’re in a movie in which Jason Statham plays Jason Statham, we can expect him to act like Jason Statham. Pretty soon, we’re caught up in a tale of revenge and high-octane action, as Parker tries to track down Melander and his nameless crew (plus the black guy) on their next heist in Palm Beach, Florida. 

Of course, what would a film like this be without a woman written in for no other reason apart from looking really good? Meet Leslie Rogers (Jennifer Lopez), a divorced real estate agent without much going for her (apart from the beauty light that reinvigorates her face on every shot of her, even if it doesn’t match the preceding shot). Leslie soon meets Parker, this time disguised as a Texas oil-man. Of course, the audience doesn’t question the plausibility of this new disguise. After all, Statham did just dress up like a priest. Faking account histories, personal histories, and bank statements would just be a simple next step. 

From there, it’s Statham and Lopez versus the World. For the rest of the film (which seems far longer than 118 minute running time), we have running, chasing, hiding, shooting, searching, stealing, and everything in between. Of course, we even have the contractually-obligated “Jennifer Lopez has to strip down to nothing so audiences can see how fit, hot, and relevant she still is” scene. That was one of my favorites. 

Oh, I lost count of my Laugh Track. That was #507. 

My only regret in the film was that it wasted Statham, who I really believe to be an actor who commits to every line he’s given, regardless of its idiocies. As much crap as he gets, he merits a lot of respect for his ethic, dedication, and commitment to telling the stories he tells. But hey, everyone makes mistakes. 

Parker is a waste of time. Stupid, easy, and not even much fun, it’s the kind of film you should only consider watching it’s it’s free on Netflix, you’re not paying for Netflix, and you’re in the possession of some sort of time machine that allows you to go back 118 minutes after the film is over.

In that sense at least, there is some hope for the film, for Parker‘s market may expand eventually. Way, way, way in the future. 

 

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  1. […] and engaging action sequences that so contrasted the cliched and formulaic ones of recent (SEE: Parker). But that’s another disagreement I have with […]

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