Parker (2013)

Director: Taylor Hackford
Cast: Jason StathamJennifer LopezMichael Chiklis
Plot: A thief with a unique code of professional ethics is double-crossed by his crew and left for dead. Assuming a new disguise and forming an unlikely alliance with a woman on the inside, he looks to hijack the score of the crew's latest heist.

Genre: Action/Crime/Thriller

Awards: -
Runtime: 118min
Rating: M18 (cut!) for strong violence, language throughout and brief sexual content/nudity.

IN RETROSPECT (Guest Review by Ronnie Yeo)

"I don't steal from anyone who can't afford it, and I don't hurt anyone who doesn't deserve it."

Adapted from a novel by Donald Westlake (penname Richard Stark), Parker is director Taylor Hackford's first film noir and he does not disappoint, bringing audiences a well-paced and entertaining film. The film begins strongly in medias res while using flashbacks to explain the plot for audiences. Hackford does a good job of balancing between exciting and tensed action scenes to keep audiences hooked and slower scenes to set up his story and give audiences time to breathe.

The film's subplot and secondary characters also complement it well. Hackford gives audiences just enough information about Leslie Rogers (Jennifer Lopez) to develop her story, giving her a clear and believable motive for helping Parker, while staying focused on the main plot. Rogers and her mother (Patti LuPone) also provide a tinge of comic relief in an otherwise dark story about revenge.

Yet the film is not without weaknesses. The film's other subplot, which sends an assassin (Daniel Bernhardt) after Parker, integrates poorly with the main plot, and may even confuse audiences at times. Of course, it provides the film with more reasons for action scenes, which adds to the excitement and entertainment of the film.

Despite its strong start, the film eventually develops into a predictable and disappointing ending. This is largely due to the weak antagonists. The attempts to emphasize the formidability and well-connected prowess of the antagonists are merely dialogues that are not substantiated by action. As a result, they prove to be undeveloped and too weak for the resourceful Parker.

However, when all is said and done, Statham's decent performance and Lopez's supporting role coupled with the pacing and editing of the film makes up for its weaknesses. Parker thus remains an engaging film which is more than capable of keeping audiences glued to their seats for two hours. 

Rating: 3.5 stars
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