When I heard that there was a new Jason Statham movie coming out, I was filled with glee. I am huge fan of Statham and have seen most of the movies he has done, even the ones by Uwe Boll. Yes, I am that much of a fan. There was no question that I would be seeing this film in theaters when it was released. The thing that was in doubt was whether this would be a good movie or something that benefited from the Halo effect due to Jason Statham’s presence.
The interwebs were not much help in this regards. The guys here at Ideology of Madness pretty much came down on the side of it being craptastic whereas John Wick was very excited to see an actual Parker movie getting made instead of the Mel Gibson star vehicle that was Payback. The presence of J-lo in the movie was not something that inspired confidence despite my unwavering fan boy nature.
Before I proceed, I have a confession to make. I am unfamiliar with the source material as I have never read the book upon which this movie is based. I am aware, that in some circles, this is a horrible sin and can only hope for forgiveness. I only have so much free time and have not been overly fond of the crime genre outside of Andrew Vachss.
I rather enjoyed Parker. The story itself is very much a modernized Robin Hood tale. Parker is a thief with a particular set of morals. He doesn’t steal from those that can’t afford it, doesn’t harm those that don’t deserve it, Always does what he says, and expects others to do as they promise. Being the sole Arbiter of who meets these criteria allows Parker great leeway while still lending him the air of a righteous outlaw. After completing a successful heist at the Ohio State Fair, he is betrayed by the crew he is working with a left for dead. What follows is Parker’s recovery and pursuit of setting this right.
The plot is a by-the-numbers action movie. The opening scenes illustrate how much of a bad ass Parker is while giving a small glimpse of the life he has created for himself. Things go all pear shaped and he is forced to catch up to his erstwhile compatriots to get what he has coming to him. The path to vengeance is littered with stolen vehicles and dead bodies as the villains tried to thwart him interfering in a large jewelry heist. All the beats that you expect in an action movie are present. Their execution is solid and well done but nothing that is not expected of this type of movie. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the action pieces throughout the movie. It just that they were not the biggest draw for me. Learning more about Parker was the most interesting thing to me. From his interactions with a hyperventilating security guard to how he ends up working with J-lo’s character all paint him as a very neat character that I would like see more of in the future.
If you like your action movies with a good chunk of characterization, I would recommend giving Parker a shot. It is a solid movie well worth a matinee trip to the movies.