February 6th, 2013, by Rob


Parker is a 2013 American crime thriller film directed by Taylor Hackford. Starring Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez, the film is adapted from Flashfire, the 19th Parker novel, written by Donald Westlake under the name Richard Stark. Primarily set in Palm Beach, Florida, the film revolves around professional thief Parker (Statham), who is double-crossed by his crew. He sets out for revenge on them, travelling to Palm Beach, where he enlists the help of insider Leslie (Lopez), who assists him in a quest to steal what his former crew, headed by a man named Melander (Michael Chiklis), rob in their jewelry auction heist. As the story develops, Leslie falls for Parker, who remains faithful to his longtime girlfriend Claire (Emma Booth).

Parker marked a departure in Hackford’s career, as he had hoped to make it his first film noir. The film was conceived following Westlake’s 2008 death, when his wife and producer Les Alexander acquired and secured the rights to it. Filming in Palm Beach attracted a significant amount of local media attention, and was said to have increased the area’s holiday interest. Additionally, Parker’s filming in New Orleans helped its local film industry. It premiered in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 24, 2013, and was released in the United States on January 25. Reviews have been generally mixed with film critics finding Statham appropriate and well-fitted for the role of Parker and praising the work of Lopez as providing comedic relief. However, others have gone on to call Parker a generic Statham film which begins promisingly but ends predictably.




Movie2k Watch Movies – Parker – Plot

Parker (Jason Statham) is a professional thief, who doesn’t steal from the poor or hurt innocent people. His mentor Hurley (Nick Nolte) asks him to do a five-man job with a crew he doesn’t know, which consists of Melander (Michael Chiklis), Carlson (Wendell Pierce), Ross (Clifton Collins Jr.) and Hardwicke (Michah Hauptman). The job is successful, but Parker refuses to go further with another plan that will earn them millions. They shoot him and leave him to die in a lake. Having barely survived, he is found by a family who take him to the hospital, where he escapes after stealing a male nurse’s uniform to avoid being spotted by police. Parker tells Hurley that he wants to go after Melander for double-crossing him, who he later discovers is in Palm Beach, Florida for another heist. The crew learn that he is alive, and sends a hit-man named Kroll (Daniel Bernhardt) to kidnap Hurley’s daughter and Parker’s girlfriend Claire (Emma Booth). She narrowly escapes and goes into hiding at a Fish Camp. Hurley is worried and suggests Parker run away with Claire, but he refuses, completely intent on revenge against Melander.

Parker travels to Palm Beach and poses as a Texan named Daniel Parmett. Leslie Rogers (Jennifer Lopez) is a depressed, unsuccessful real-estate agent living with her mother (Patti LuPone), and struggling financially after a divorce. She is thrilled when Parker (as Parmett) appears to become interested in her properties, because she is desperate for a commission. Leslie soon becomes suspicious when Parker only takes interest in a house that a man named Rodrigo is renting. In reality, Rodrigo is Melander, and is staying in this house with the crew in anticipation of a $50 million dollar jewelry auction from which they plan to steal jewels. Leslie becomes suspicious and eventually finds out that Daniel Parmett is a fake identity. She offers her knowledge of the area as help to Parker, if he will give her a commission. He considers it after making her strip to make sure she isn’t wearing a wire. Together, they plan to steal the jewels from Melander after he robs them from the auction. Leslie kisses Parker, but he stops it from going any further.

Before the auction, Melander’s crew disguise themselves as movers to plan their heist. They soon learn that Parker is in Palm Beach, and send Kroll to kill him. After a bloody fight, Kroll stabs Parker through the hand, but ends up falling from a balcony and dying. The next morning, local detective Jake Fernandez (Bobby Cannavale) arrives with questions for Leslie about Daniel after learning that she was in business with him. She is shocked when she discovers a bloody Parker hiding in her house, and tells Jake that Daniel was a waste of her time. At her workplace, Leslie is horrified when she watches a video of Kroll’s death online, which was filmed by local onlookers. When she gets back to her condo, Claire is there stitching up Parker’s wounds. Leslie is hurt, believing she had a chance to be with Parker romantically. Claire goes back into hiding at the Fish Camp.

The crew successfully steal the jewels at the auction, and swim back to the house, where a weak and injured Parker has already arrived. Worried that Parker might get hurt, Leslie makes her way to the house and begins snooping around the garden. She is found and taken inside, where the crew abuse and grill her with questions, assuming she is working with Parker. Melander finds Parker and a fight ensues. Carlson nearly rapes Leslie, and she shoots him multiple times with a gun she noticed under the table. Melander is eventually killed after Parker stabs and shoots him. All members of the crew end up dead. Parker and Leslie arrange for the jewels to be hidden and for her to receive her cut. She tells him that she never did have a chance to be with him, and they part ways. Six months later, Parker goes to Chicago and kills the mafia boss who hired Melander for the jewel job. A year later, Leslie receives a hefty box in the mail containing thousands of dollar bills.




Movie2k Watch Movies – Parker – Cast

Jason Statham as Parker
Jennifer Lopez as Leslie Rogers
Michael Chiklis as Melander
Wendell Pierce as Carlson
Clifton Collins Jr. as Ross
Bobby Cannavale as Jake Fernandez
Patti LuPone as Ascension
Carlos Carrasco as Norte
Micah A. Hauptman as August Hardwicke
Emma Booth as Claire
Nick Nolte as Hurley
Daniel Bernhardt as Kroll

Movie2k Watch Movies – Parker – Production

Parker – Conception

Prior to this film, Parker had first appeared decades earlier in the 1962 novel The Hunter, written by Donald E. Westlake, which spawned into a book series that including over twenty other novels. He had also been depicted in several films including Point Blank (1967) and Payback (1999), among others. Despite these films, Westlake was hesitant to sell the film rights of his novels to anybody, because he wanted someone to produce the entire series. In 2008, following Westlake’s death, his wife Abby along with one of Westlake’s closest friends Les Alexander, decided to have the rights for a novel secured because they wanted to see a film developed. Alexander hired a friend of his named John McLaughlin to write the screenplay for Parker, and then director Taylor Hackford became involved.

Hackford directs the film alongside Steven Chasman, Alexander, Sidney Kimmel and Jonathan Mitchell. Hackford was excited to make Parker his “first sort of film noir”, stating: “I don’t want to get stuck in a genre. What I like the most about this piece of material is that you can take a genre piece like this and turn it into a great movie.” Speaking with Palm Beach Daily News about what led him to Parker, Hackford stated “I’m a fan of Donald Westlake. I really think he’s a fabulous writer … very unique in the area of crime because his Parker series”. Hackford was attracted to Parker because he was a “strange character” and “sociopath” who, at the same time, isn’t a sociopath, describing him as “compelling”.

Parker – Pre-production

On April 18, 2011, Justin Kroll of Variety reported that Statham would play the role of Parker. Of Parker, Statham has commented that he’s “a man who lives by a certain moral code. … So there’s a likeable quality to this anti-hero.” The actor noted that: “He’s involved in criminal activities but he perceives all business to be in some way crooked. He never steals from people he feels can’t afford it and he doesn’t hurt people that don’t deserve it”, describing Parker as an “anti-hero”. During the film, Parker is seen posing as a priest and a wealthy texan named Daniel Parmitt from San Antonio, Texas.

On June 21, 2011, it was revealed that Lopez was in talks to play “the female lead, a character named Leslie, who gets involved with Parker as he executes a heist”. Lopez’s casting was confirmed, along with Nick Nolte who will play Parker’s mentor. Lopez and Nolte previously worked together on the film U Turn (1997). Hackford noted the role of Leslie as a departure from her other work, considering she had been acting in romantic comedies for the last several years, and was happy with her performance. Leslie is a “savvy insider” who’s “short on cash, but big on looks, smarts and ambition.” Initially, she only partners with Parker for her own financial gain, but eventually becomes romantically involved with Parker. Owen Tonks of Daily Mail noted that “The couple’s relationship grows stronger and Leslie falls for Parker as the storyline develops”. Additionally, Tonks noted that Leslie is “likely to be completely different” from Lopez’s true personality. Wendell Pierce, Clifton Collins Jr., Michael Chiklis, Patti LuPone and Emma Booth will also co-star in Parker. In the novel Flashfire, Leslie wasn’t ethnic. However, Hackford, whose idea it was to cast Lopez, decided to make Leslie Cuban, and hire Italian LuPone to play her mother.




Parker – Filming

The Times-Picayune’s Mike Scott reported on June 23, 2011, that Parker would begin shooting in New Orleans on July 18 for seven weeks. Scott noted that filming in New Orleans was “good news” for the local film industry because it came “at a time that has historically seen a slowdown in major productions, due both to the oppressive heat and the arrival of hurricane season.” Playbill later confirmed that production for the film had begun on August 4, 2011, in New Orleans. Filming briefly moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana from August 5–9.

Parker was also filmed in Palm Beach, Florida, where Lopez and Statham were spotted that September. Palm Beach County Film and Television’s commissioner Chuck Elderd was pleased with the shooting for Parker. He said: “From the commission’s position, we knew when Taylor Hackford was going to shoot [Parker] we were going to get gorgeous shots of Palm Beach County and incredible aerials, which we got a taste of in the trailer as a plane flies over Palm Beach and West Palm Beach. And the action scenes make Boca Raton look great.” Additionally, Elderd noted that filming in the area attracted more attention to Palm Beach, therefore lifting its interest. In an interview with the towns’ local newspaper, Hackford said: “Palm Beach is a fascinating area. You’ve got this incredibly rich, exclusive enclave and right across the bridge you’ve got real life. And I was depicting both”. According to Robert Janjigian of the Palm Beach Daily News, Palm Beach were “star-struck” and “ready for its close-up” during filming. Variety noted that locals were also “shook up” by helicopters, firetrucks and marine patrol boats, “bringing big-time filmmaking to an area better known for leisure-time activities.”

Statham, who is a former diver for the British Olympic Team, performed all of Parker’s stunts in the film. In one scene, Statham jumped out of the window of a fast-moving car for his character to escape being shocked; this stunt was considered “really dangerous” and Hackford said he was “nervous when he went out that window” five or six times before the scene was finished. In another scene, Statham had to hang off a building’s balcony. The actor said he took a “real beating” from these scenes. He credited this to wearing a wire, which got in the way of filming and made things feel “restricted”, because they ripped up his arms. In January 2012, filming for Parker concluded in Miami.

Movie2k Watch Movies – Parker – Marketing

Originally, Parker was set to be released on October 12, 2012. However, the release date was moved back due to strong competition it would have faced at the Box Office from other films released around that time including Gangster Squad and Here Comes the Boom; the former of which later had its release date moved to January due to the 2012 Aurora shooting. Matt Goldberg of the website Collider noted that it would have probably lost to these films if it had been released that October. Boxoffice listed the pros of the film release, which were Statham’s “consistent” performance at the box office and Lopez’s appearance which “could help the film expand a bit beyond Statham’s usual audience”. It also listed the cons, which are Lopez’s presence that might “turn off some of Statham’s usual audience” as well as heavy competition from multiple other films.

The film’s first promotional poster was unveiled on October 1, 2012. Its theatrical trailer was released on October 4, 2012. Collider commented that despite this being a slightly different film than what Statham is known for, the trailer “still has its share of clichés”. Joblo’s Paul Shirley said “It’s got a lot of the usual Statham action goodies”, but with “source material and stellar cast” it has potential to be a theatrical hit. Simon Reynolds of Digital Spy noted the pairing of “tough guy” Statham and “global superstar” Lopez to be “unlikely” but said Parker promises to “serve up some meaty action thrills”. On January 3, 2013, Digital Spy unveiled another promotional poster for Parker.




Movie2k Watch Movies – Parker – Release

On January 18, 2013, Parker premiered at Muvico Parisian 20 in West Palm Beach. According to Aleese Kopf of the Palm Beach Daily News, the “sold-out” crowd had nothing but “positive feedback” and “cheers, claps and whistles” after watching the film’s special premiere. Proceeds from this exclusive screening, attended by Statham and Hackford, benefited the Palm Beach Film Institute. Its red carpet premiere, which all of the cast was in attendance, took place on January 24, 2013, at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. In the United States, Parker was released on January 25, 2013, and will be released on March 8 in the United Kingdom. After opening across 2,224 theaters in the United States, Parker performed modestly during its opening weekend, grossing slightly over $7 million and opening at No. 5 at the Box Office. This was 2 million shy of what it was predicted to earn prior. During the Super Bowl weekend ending February 3, 2013, the film grossed $3.2 million, ranking No. 7 at the Box Office.

As of February 2013, Parker has grossed $1,024,216 at the Box Office in foreign countries.

Parker – Critical reception

Parker has received mixed reviews from film critics. Metacritic gave the film a score of 46 out of 100 based on 21 reviews from mainstream critics, which signifies “mixed or average” reviews. Based on 64 reviews sampled by another review aggreatator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a “Rotten” rating from critics, with 38% positive reviews and an average rating of 4.6/10. John Semley of Slant Magazine was not receptive of Parker, “Tonally, Parker’s not so much broad or inclusive as weirdly schizophrenic, vacillating between flat comedy and spiked savagery, the product of a painfully slapdash script.” However, the Miami Herald’s Connie Ogle said while it was “a stretch” and “without its absurdities”, Statham “turns out to be a good choice to play the taciturn thief”. Christy Lemire, film critic for the Associated Press, felt that Statham is “not exactly pushing himself outside his comfort zone”, and Lopez is “here to provide some comic relief as the wide-eyed fish out of water”. Lemire also humorously noted that audiences would “ogle” in “J.Lo’s world-famous derrière” which is a “popular tourist destination”.

Alonso Duralde of The Wrap said, “If Parker had just focused on Parker and his bloody mission of vengeance, they might have wound up with an unspectacular but still exciting action movie; Statham, after all, does this sort of thing about as well as anyone on the big screen this decade.” Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal was negative, calling the film’s most “distinctive thing” its title. Morgenstern said it sets a “tin standard” for crime thrillers.
Lopez’s performance was praised for its comedic relief.

Brian Lowry for Variety felt that Hackford “fashioned the 50-year-old franchise into a neat-fitting outfit for Jason Statham”, while calling the film “crisp and efficient”, praising it for showing off Lopez to “good effect”. Lowry also said Parker is a film “with scant time to admire the scenery, human or otherwise.” While reviewing Lopez’s performance, several critics drew comparisons to the film she starred opposite George Clooney in 15 years earlier, Out of Sight (1998). Stephen Farber of The Hollywood Reporter said the film’s “biggest surprise” is Lopez’s performance, in which she “downplays her glamorous image to give a refreshingly low-key portrayal of a put-upon, financially strapped working woman who manages to be useful to Parker when he least expects it.” Additionally, Farber said its Palm Beach locations “enhance the movie’s persuasive atmosphere” and praised Statham as making a “convincingly bruised protagonist” A.O. Scott of The New York Times gave Parker a positive review, enjoying Lopez “exercising her talent for damsel-in-distress silliness” and said, “And if Parker is, in the end, business as usual, it is also a pretty good deal.”

Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times positively reviewed the film, calling it a “faithful adaption” of Flashfire. Sharkey praised Statham’s performance as Parker, and also called Lopez “inherently likable” on screen. Movie reviewer James Berardinelli, however, was unhappy with the lack of development Leslie’s character had, and was also displeased with the heavy amount of screen time devoted to telling the backstory of Parker’s girlfriend Claire (Emma Booth). Nonetheless, Berardinelli gave Parker a generally positive review, summarizing its action scenes as “crisply directed, brutal, and invigorating.”

Other critics noted Parker and its action sequences to be predictable. Writing for The A.V. Club, Josh Modell said the film’s beginning was “fairly strong”, although the action “gets more predictable as it meanders toward its conclusion”. Peter Howell of The Star said the film started of “promisingly” but ended “predictable”, while the Montreal Gazette’s Bill Brownstein panned the film by stating, “Much gunplay and bloodletting ensues. The body count is high. Intrigue is low.” Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly’s review was along the same lines, calling it “unremarkably generic” and “insanely bloody”.





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