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Parker is a thief who has an unusual code. He doesn't steal from the poor and hurt innocent people. He is asked to join four other guys on a job. They pull it off flawlessly. They tell Parker that what they got can help them set up another job which will net them much more. But Parker doesn't want to join them and asks for his share. But they need it all so they try to kill him. They dispose of his body but someone finds him--he is still alive--and takes him to the hospital. After recovering he sets out to get back at the ones who tried to kill him, another one of his codes. Despite being told that they are working for a known mobster which he was not aware of, he still wants to go after them. He learns where they are and poses as a wealthy Texan looking to buy a house. So he hires a real estate agent, Leslie Rogers to show him around. He is actually trying to find out where they're holed up. And when he finds it, he sets out on his plan to get them. But when they learn he is alive, ...Written by
Director Hackford tells in the DVD bonus, film commentary, that the heist sequence was shot half in Ohio and the other half in Louisiana, because the fire sequence could have never been made in the middle of a crowd, the actual Ohio feast, carnival. So he explained that they used extras for the fire sequence in Louisiana and used the actual crowd in Ohio, where no one among the mob could recognize the actors such as Statham - who was disguised as a priest - Chiklis and so on...So the audience watched, during one minute, several shots made one thousand miles in between. See more »
When Parker slides under the garage door as it is closing (twice) at Melander's house, he would have broken the infra red safety beam, so the door should have stopped and re-opened, alerting Mr. Rodrigo and his gang. See more »
. . . and a few bodies make this boilerplate thriller/revenge piece of action enjoyable, at least in the dead zone of January, the dumping ground for loser films. Yet, Parker is not a loser film because its eponymous hero (Jason Statham) is not a loser; rather he's one bearded cool cat, who pulls heists with a set of principles deadlier than a gun or almost as deadly as his hands. Add a toilet tank and shower curtain to the arsenal, and you get an idea about how this actioner is a bit unusual.
Any thriller that starts out with a heist at the Ohio State Fair can't be all that bad, and it isn't. While acclaimed director Taylor Hackford (Ray) stylishly sets up numerous hairbreadth's escapes for the irritated Parker, acclaimed writer John J. McLaughlin (Black Swan) offers clipped comments such as the one above to keep the hero laconic and coiled. While I may be only one of a few critics who liked Christopher McQuarrie's Jack Reacher, Parker's adaptation from Donald E. Westlake novel, Flashfire (as Richard Stark), has Elmore Leonard's quirky small-time crooks. Parker has some of the same outrageous flare. With John Boorman's Point Blank having adapted Westlake's The Hunter, nothing but good pedigree resides in Parker.
Besides providing Parker with a reasonably hip and hippy femme fatale, Leslie (Jennifer Lopez), the film does the unusual by keeping him away from her and devoted to his girlfriend, Claire (Emma Booth). Hooray for the real amid this unreal story: some dudes, even ones in white cowboy hats, love exclusively.
Parker has minor characters somewhat lost in the Statham-Lopez celebrity: Bobby Cannavale plays a good-hearted West Palm cop with a yen for Leslie; Michael Chiklis is Melander, a shaved-headed ( like our hero) baddie pulling a jewel heist after he screws over Parker in the Ohio State job. Both actors deserve more face time.
Although "Pizza—I love that s__t" is not a great line, it does represent the real mixed with the fantasy, hallmarks of an enjoyable thriller that will never be considered great. But you'll not forget Statham's Parker. Now that counts for something.
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