I MISS creative movie titles. Just a last name (or even a full name) are boring titles. They don't even say anything about the movie unless you already know the character they are based on. "Parker" (Trailer) is actually not the first time this character has been in film. At least five other movies have featured Parker as the main character, based around the crime novels by Donald Westlake/Richard Stark, but most of them at least have interesting titles.
Parker (Jason Statham) is your ordinary crook with a few simple rules: Don't hurt anyone innocent, and don't steal from those who can't afford it. His girlfriend (Emma Booth) knows all about it, because her father (Nick Nolte) is an ex-partner of his, who now just sets up criminals for bigger scores. For example, robbing the Ohio State Fair, a score of about a million dollars, $200k each. But it turns out the other four members of the crew (Michael Chiklis, Wendell Pierce, Clifton Collins Jr., Micah A. Hauptman) have their eyes set on a bigger prize.
When Parker says no, the crew tries to kill him and run away, but of course Parker doesn't die. Instead, he creates a new identity, and heads off to West Palm Beach to stop the guys who tried to kill him get his money back. Jennifer Lopez plays a real estate workers strapped for cash, being chased romantically by a local cop (Bobby Cannavale).
The previews for "Parker" make it seem like a revenge action flick. A crime occurs, character gets wronged, and he goes back for vengeance. If anything, it was the exact opposite. Yes, the heist goes off and he gets wronged, but he doesn't start killing all the people involved on a warpath. He has to plan it all first.
I like that it's planned, and that the movie looks before leaping. That way we get to see how smart our main character is! But then it became too detailed, and a little bit boring. Honestly, after the two hour movie, I felt like I was in the theater for four hours. Things definitely move way too slowly.
It didn't help that watching every little step of his recovery/run/planning made me hate the Parker character. Apparently Parker hates people who break his rules and his creed. So much for stealing from only those who can afford it. It was almost comical, watching him steal car after car, location to location, without actually knowing anything about the owners of any of them.
His actions ruin the image of the charismatic thief for me, just a bit. Combining that with the snail crawl of the film, it makes it hard to recommend to anyone.
Nick Hamden is an Ames247 staff writer.