Review – Parker
Even a poor Jason Statham movie is an above average pretty good action movie. Fortunately Parker was a very good movie on its own, and having Statham as the main character only helped. Based on the series of “Parker” novels by Donald E Westlake (written under the nom de plume Richard Stark), the movie Parker is based on the book Flashfire published in 2000. Though several Parker books have been adapted to film none have actually named their main character Parker until now. In 1967 Point Blank starred Lee Marvin as the Parker character, (this time named Walker), and in 1999 Mel Gibson starred in Payback, as Porter, both based on the first Parker book The Hunter. I had seen a few minutes here and there of Payback on television years ago, and what I remember of it seemed pretty good. Now knowing the source of the movie, I think I will pick it up soon, as well as try to track down Point Blank, because as awesome as Statham is and as crazy as Gibson is, Lee Marvin just brings another degree of “cool” to everything, even Paint Your Wagon…. Also, after watching Parker I had a chance to quickly read the first few pages of The Hunter as an ebook preview and must say that I enjoyed it enough to put it on my ever growing “to read” list.
The movie Parker, featured a lot of action, several clever heists, betrayal and double crosses, snappy dialogue, and some gritty realism that reminds me again why I like Jason Statham movies. I will admit that watching a Statham movie leaves little to the imagination, except for how creative the fights will become. In tonight’s movie he chokes a man out with a bar stool to get information while sitting on his trachea. Pretty inventive eh? I don’t know who stunt co-ordinates or choreographs his fights from film to film, whether it is input from a constant team or Statham himself, but they have yet to disappoint me. But the thing that I really like about his movies is that his heroes are always vulnerable. Often emotionally, but a lot of times physically as well. His characters usually get the crap kicked out of them at some point in the movie. It makes sense and is a welcome change from the invulnerable action stars of old who could walk through a minefield of henchmen and gunplay without dirtying their clothes.
I had seen the commercials for Parker when it was coming to theatres and thought it looked good, but my only reservation was Jennifer Lopez. I will admit that I was prejudiced here, based on what I had heard about Gigli and Jersey Girl and also tell you that I had never seen a Jennifer Lopez movie before. In Parker though I found her to be quite a capable actress. It is of course possible there was someone else out there who could have done a better job, but there was nothing wrong with Lopez as Leslie Rodgers, a real estate agent who unwittingly uncovers Parker’s plot and tries to work her way into it for some of the reward. I’m a big Jason Statham fan so I really can not find any fault with his performance, because the role of Parker fit him perfectly. Nick Nolte and Michael Chiklis rounded out an excellent supporting cast bringing just that little bit more star power to a very enjoyable action film.
While Parker has certainly encouraged me to explore the other media the character exists in, I’m not sure I would want to see it become a “franchise”. There are (I believe) 27 Parker books, and to keep running with it may bore audiences, because we really do crave something new all the time. Aside from Point Blank and Payback, there are other movie adaptations too, but I myself will be content to read just a few of the books, and watch the two previous movies because I don’t want Hollywood to become lazier than it already is, having to adapt more and more books to compensate for their own creative vacuums.
Posted on 13-05-22, in 4 Star, Movie Reviews and tagged book adaptation, Donald E Westlake, Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis, movie, movie adaptation, Nick Nolte, Parker novels, review, Richard Stark. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.