HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:82
“I don’t take from people who can’t afford it, and I don’t hurt people who don’t deserve it.” That’s Jason Statham’s code in his recent actioneer from Sony Pictures. For a while, Jason Statham had been in kind of a slump, churning out a few DTV flicks with some rather lackluster performance. Thanks to “Safe” and “Parker,” he’s brought some of that classic “touch Guy” charm back and given some new life to his career. I really love Jason’s movies; they’re like Starbucks coffee: they don’t make the greatest coffee on the face of this earth that will win awards, but you know exactly what you’re going to get, and here it’s no different. We know that with Statham we’re going to get blood, broken knuckles and lots of bullets mixed with a lot of panache.
Parker (Statham) is a man with a code of honor. Whatever he starts, he finishes, whatever he says he’s going to do, he does. He never hurts those who don’t deserve it and never takes from those who can’t afford it. A master thief, he takes a job from his retired father in law (Nick Nolte) and pairs up with a crew of men that came from a recommendation. Taking down a carnival with a Million dollar payload he finds out the hard way that not everyone sticks to the same code of honor as he does. Double crossed and left for dead, Parker comes out of a coma ticked off and ready to knock some heads. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know WHERE his ex-partners are, or what job they’re working on next. Well, being that he IS Jason Statham, Parker punches, kicks and shoots his way into the information. It seems that they’re going for a risky payoff in the INSANELY over protected Palm Beach area and are pulling in a score that would set someone up for a lifetime. Parker decides to not only take revenge on the guys, but steal their score as well, so he hunkers down in Palm Beach, acquires the help of desperate, but lovely Real estate agent Leslie Rodgers (Jennifer Lopez), who is so desperate to get out of Palm Beach’s hollow empty lifestyle that she’ll do whatever it takes to get a cut of this heist.
As with most heist movies, something goes wrong. It seems that one of the men who double crossed Parker is the nephew of one of the Chicago mob’s heaviest hitting crime lords, and that said crime lord has sent out a hitter (Daniel Bernhardt) to take care of Parker’s wife and father-in-law and when he fails there, comes after Parker. So not only does Parker have to find his old partners, steal their score, and exact revenge, but keep away from the Chicago mob as well. All in a day’s work.
“Parker” is a nice twist between a crime caper film and a revenge flick. A little more subtle and hard hitting than Statham’s usual cartoony action fare, there’s still quite a bit of hard hitting scenes where Statham can showcase his physical abilities, but it’s darker, grittier and more mature than a lot of what he’s done in the past. The fight scene between him and Daniel Bernhardt was exceptionally done, more brutal and gritty than what I was expecting when they cast a flashy martial artist as a hit man. The film itself is fairly simple. You know what you’re going to get here from the get go. Bad man take something form Parker, Parker gets ticked off, Parker comes and beats them up. It plays to Statham’s strengths and for an action/crime film that’s a very good thing. It comes off as very smooth and well-polished. The villains are well cast, Michael Chiklis playing a truly disgusting villain with a penchant for violence and double crossing. I did get a chuckle out of Jason Statham trying out a Texas accent for his undercover work. It was cringe inducing, but strangely humorous at the same time and you can tell Jason hammed it up all the way.
The film tends to leave the brunt of the star power to Statham, since that’s what the audience came for. However we have a nice distraction with the addition of Jennifer Lopez in the picture (does that woman EVER AGE?). She takes the eye candy role in the picture quite well, but with a different twist. Usually in these types of films she’s the type cast woman who falls in love with the criminal with the heart of gold …yadda yadda yadda. The twist is that Parker is happily married and J-Lo doesn’t have a chance. Instead, she’s played as more of a woman who’s in desperate need of an out and becomes more of a partner rather than a love interest. She of course has the obligatory scene where she has to show off her body in a search where Parker makes sure she doesn’t have a wire on. Gave me a chuckle because it reminded me of the same mentality used in “Terminator 3” where we see Arnold come out of the time bubble nude as a jaybird, just so the audience could see that even with his age he “still had it”. Same thing applies here, came off as J-lo telling the audience “see I still got it going on” more than anything.
Rated R for strong violence, language throughout and brief sexual content/nudity
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=11680[/img]Do I really need to say anything besides that hit is a new Sony release? “Parker” explodes onto the scene with a fantastic 2.35:1 AVC encode from Sony. Colors are absolutely GORGEOUS! There’s a slightly “shiny” look to the colors, but that’s consistent to what I saw in the theaters. Detail both in long shots and faces are outstanding. You can see every bit of Statham’s rough facial stubble and even the individual loose threads on Jennifer Lopez’s slinky dress. Black levels are stunningly well done. Inky black and with tons of shadow detail present. Nothing obstructed by our old enemy, black crush. There is the occasional soft shot, but those are few and far between. I didn’t see any evidence of digital manipulation or any compression issues whatsoever. Long story short, Sony knocks it out of the park once more. A near perfect encode.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=11682[/img]Not to be outdone, the audio track for “Parker” is every bit as good. Stunning clarity with the dialogue and a well-balanced dynamic range. My only complaint with the dialogue was through no fault of the encode, Jason Statham’s British accent can sometimes be a bit hard to understand since he tends to mumble just a tad. Surrounds were used exceedingly well, gunshots fly over your shoulders and the crashing sounds of dismantled furniture come from all around. LFE is great, a nice deep rich undertone saturates the movie from beginning to end and there’s some SERIOUSLY explosive LFE with the gunshots. The first shotgun blast in the car made my chest feel that serious whomp in the chest. Being an action movie and with such great audio usage, it’s fair to say that it did its job of enveloping the viewer and sucking them in to the center of the action.
• Director's Commentary
• Bringing The Hunter to Life: the Making of "Parker"
• Who is Parker?
• The Origin of Parker
• Broken Necks and Bloody Knuckles
A simple, yet effective film, “Parker” is fun ride from beginning to end. Full of fists, bullets and head butts, it’s very straightforward and to the point. It feels a bit more lean and hard hitting than some of his earlier works, less on the cartoony action side and more on the grounded, gritty action side. The film is solid and has nothing to be ashamed about. As I said earlier, we know what we’re getting with Jason Statham and he delivered on all fronts. For action fans, and especially fans of Statham, it’s a must see for the action alone, but paired with some near flawless audio/video scores it’s kind of a no brainer at that point. I give it two punches up.
Starring: Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis, Nick Nolte
Directed by: Taylor Hackford
Written by: John McLaughlin
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Studio: Sony Pictures
Runtime: 118 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: May 21st, 2013
Buy Parker Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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