Going to the Movies by Catherine Taegel – “Parker”

Photo by PoPville flickr user ep_jhu

Going to the Movies is written by Mount Vernon Triangle resident Catherine Taegel.

Last evening I saw a screening of “Parker” starring Jason Statham (“The Italian Job” &“The Transporter” trilogies) and Jennifer Lopez.  The movie was exactly what I expected it to be – it is starring Jason Statham after all – but I was actually alright with that. Jason Statham has created a nice little action star niche and he is in his groove in Parker.


With all of the heavy hitter movies out there these days – Lincoln, Les Miserables, Zero Dark Thirty, Argo – we all need a little mindless entertainment. And I mean that in a good way. Parker is not going to win any awards. It’s no cinematic feat with a carefully crafted script. It’s a typical action film that doesn’t quite stand up to “Bad Boys” but is at least better than “Public Enemies”.


Jason Statham stars as Parker, a thief who would like to think he has a moral compass, but let’s face it – he’s about kicking ass and taking names. Again, it is Jason Statham. The plot is surface level –  he gets wronged and wants to get even. It really is that simple. The movie opens at the Ohio State Fair and while the entire encounter maybe lasts around ten minutes, it’s probably the longest scene in one place in the entire movie. That’s an action movie for you though – continuously moving with the guide of a revolving door of stolen cars.

 Continues after the jump.

Jennifer Lopez is Leslie. She’s middle-aged, divorced, and down on her luck.  She meets Parker and finds an opportunity to change her stars when she realizes he is not what he seems. This role is not a stretch for Lopez. She doesn’t have to dig deep and once she enters the film, she follows Parker’s lead and we all continue to be entertained. No action film is complete without some nudity. Let me say, I cannot believe she had twins. She was a good match for Jason Statham. They both seem to age slowly – if at all – and got along well on screen.

Notable ensemble members include two HBO actors – Wendell Pierce (“Treme”) as one of the thieves and Bobby Cannavale (“Boardwalk Empire”) as the local cop. Both had such minor, insignificant roles. It’s unfortunate, because they are such great actors. I enjoyed seeing them both, though. (Side plug: If you haven’t watched “Treme” – go do it!) The strangest part of the film is Nick Nolte as Hurley, Parker’s mentor and the father of his girlfriend. Through flashbacks we see Hurley is really the reason Parker is in his current predicament. Hurely is weaved in and appears as a crucial member of the cast, but abruptly leaves halfway through and is never seen again. It’s bizarre, but not unwelcomed.

There is some skin, explosions of course, suspense and build up, and serious fight scenes. Nearly every five minutes you wonder how Parker is not dead. He defies all odds. Then you realize that this is Jason Statham. He’s the man. It is a mind numbing script that includes played out one-liners. (When asked how he sleeps at night Parker responds, “I don’t drink coffee after 7:00.” I cringed.) I knew there would be cheeseball lines and while I may never know if Parker is his first or last name, did it ever really matter? If you’re looking to escape the everyday and don’t want a film that will just make you think more then go see Parker. It’s sure to entertain.

“Parker” is in wide release on January 25, 2012.

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