Saturday, January 26, 2013
This was my first time seeing a film with British action hero Jason Statham. He's actually been on the scene since 1998 (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels). Most likely the first time I heard of him was in 2002 (The Transporter), but didn't pay much attention; it wasn't until 2008 when the 3rd Transporter movie hit the theaters, that he got on my radar, as I started to hear people compare him to an Arnold Schwarzenegger or Steven Seagal. However, nothing's he's done has been a must see for me, and if any of his movies made my Netflix Queue they are way down at the bottom of the list.
What drew me to seeing his latest movie Parker was the fact it was directed by Taylor Hackford and also starred Jennifer Lopez. But what kept me invested during the movie was Statham. He's got a magnitude of charisma and you have no trouble believing he can take a serious licking and keep on ticking til he kills every Mf'er in the place!
Parker (Statham) is an admitted thief. He seems to do "jobs" with or for his girlfriend Claire's (Emma Booth) father (Nick Nolte) who owns a construction company, but also does a lot of shady deals on the side.
(Side note: Nolte just keeps morphing into something weirder and weirder looking. And his voice is so raspy, soon he'll have to mime his parts).
Claire's father introduces Parker to a couple of guys (Michael Chiklis, Wendell Pierce, Clifton Collins Jr., & Micah A. Hauptman) who are planning a robbery at a State Fair and need a 5th guy to do the job. The 2.1 mil is supposed to get split up between them and they all go their separate ways. Only, after the job, Parker is informed they all plan on putting their shares back in the pot in order to lay the foundation for a much bigger score. Parker isn't given a choice in the matter, which becomes the biggest mistake of these thugs lives!
John J. McLaughlin's screenplay based on a Donald Westlake novel does a good job of creating a plausible heist/vengeance movie with the requisite amounts of violence, stunts and actions surrounding a "super hero" with an incredible ability to withstand pain and heal very quickly.
What makes you root for Parker is his moral code of ethics, he's not into violence and taking lives unless it's necessary, he always does what he says he's going to do, he strictly believes in the old adage "honor among thieves" and he doesn't cheat on his girlfriend, no matter how good Jennifer Lopez's butt looks in everything she wears or doesn't wear.
Lopez character Leslie doesn't enter into the action until part way through the movie. She's a scrappy Real Estate agent in affluent Palm Beach. Although extremely knowledgeable about how things work in this playground for the rich and famous, she's on the outside. Her life in a shambles after a bad divorce left her with no other options than to move in with her irritating mother (Patti Lupone). With nothing to lose but a life she's not happy with anyway, she lays out a business proposition for Parker which he reluctantly accepts.
Leslie, her policeman suitor (Bobby Cannavale) and soap opera watching mother, don't really feel like they belong to this movie, it's as if these characters are crossing over as guest stars from the set of their own story. Still, she's an interesting enough distraction while we wait for Parker to let loose his wrath on his back stabbing ex-partners.
Taylor Hackford is so much more than just “Mr. Helen Mirren!”In addition to being the current President of the Director’s Guild of America, Hackford is also an acclaimed director in his own right with such popular films to his credit as An Officer and a Gentleman, Against All Odds, White Nights, Dolores Claiborne, The Devil’s Advocate, Proof of Life, Ray, and the Chuck Berry documentary Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll, as well as producing the Academy Award-winning documentary When We Were Kings, which tells the story of Muhammad Ali and George Foreman’s “Rumble in the Jungle” heavyweight championship fight.
Hackford on Statham:
Jason has a lot to do with why the picture was made,because it was made from a foreign sales company and he has an international persona. When your star is demanding to do another take and to make it right, that is fantastic. I want to say you learn from that because you ultimately want the same that he wants. It’s a gift to be able to have someone there who has enough clout, and it’s not clout to say I don’t want to do it, I want to go back to my trailer, and I want to quit early. No! It’s, I want to make it better. You can’t believe what a gift that is.
Hackford on Lopez:
Jennifer has her own cosmetic lines. What does she need? The idea that she actually embodies somebody who doesn’t have things working for her and is able to make it believable, it’s a huge test to her real talent, her acting talent. At the same time she’s harkening back to … see that’s the thing, I know Jennifer. I know how rich she is, I know all the things, but you know what? She’s real! She’s still that girl from the Bronx.
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