Director(s): Taylor Hackford
Cast: Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis
Run Time: 118 minutes
Theatrical Release: 01/25/2013
MPAA Rating: R
MPAA Explanation: for strong language, violence throughout and brief sexual content/nudity
Common Sense Says: Generic action flick has high body count, predictable plot.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that Parker focuses on a career thief (Jason Statham) bent on revenge after his gang double crosses him and leaves him for dead. His quest for vengeance leaves a body count in his wake. There are also lots of intense fight scenes, involving guns, knives, fists, and even a few pieces of furniture, and there's plenty of blood. Some of the characters drink, and most of them swear throughout the film, managing to weave "f--k" (and more) into even everyday conversation. There are brief flashes of nudity, though the film is surprisingly devoid of romance, even with co-star Jennifer Lopez trying her best to seduce Parker.
- Families can talk about Parker's code of behavior. Is it OK for him to steal from people who can afford it or to hurt people who've wronged him? Is there such a thing as an "honorable" thief?
- Why does Jennifer Lopez's character try to get involved in Parker's scheme? Why does she seem to relish the idea of getting deeper into a criminal plot?
- How does the movie's violence compare to other action thrillers you've seen?
What's the story?
Parker (Jason Statham) is a career criminal on the hunt for his former gang, the men who double-crossed him after a huge heist, stole his share, and left him for dead. Parker has a code, you see, and he can't abide by people who don't keep their word. Eventually, he tracks his quarry to Palm Beach, where he hooks up with a local real estate agent (Jennifer Lopez) who helps him find the house where the gang is holed up, cooking up their next big job. Parker plans to disrupt their scheme, while Lopez tries to get in on the action.
Is it any good?
Here's the biggest question you have after seeing PARKER: Why cast an actress as charismatic as Jennifer Lopez if you're not going to use her skills to the fullest? For that matter, why cast Nick Nolte, too, in a thankless role as a confidante and mentor of sorts to Parker? And Michael Chiklis?The whole movie, in fact, seems like an exercise in casting big-name stars with talent in a film that's mediocre at best. Even Statham deserves better; though his range may be more limited than Nolte's, he has an appealing, endearing sincerity that could have worked very well here, had he not been extra hampered by a limited script with rote dialogue and a massive heist at the heart of it that seems simplistic at best. While the action scenes do manage to thrill, ultimately, Parker disappoints.
The Good Stuff
Messages: There's no honor among thieves here, not when a gang of criminals double-crosses Parker, takes his cut from a big heist, and leaves him for dead. But nothing makes Parker (a thief, but an "honorable" one) more angry than people who don't keep their word; he tracks down his former colleagues to teach them a lesson about honesty.
Role Models: Parker is a career thief, but he's got a personal moral code: He doesn't steal from people who can't afford it and he won't hurt people who don't deserve it. That gives him a lot of leeway to break the law, and he leaves plenty of dead bodies in his wake. His co-star, played by Jennifer Lopez, is a regular person who gets herself swept up in Parker's latest plot, hoping for a piece of the action even though she's well aware it's not going to be by legal means.
What to watch out for
Violence Plenty of action, and most of it leaves people dead. There are shootouts, fist fights, car crashes, even a shootout/fist fight inside a car that's about to crash. Parker isn't invincible and is left battered and bloody by several of these encounters, but his opponents come out even bloodier, and usually dead. In one particularly intense knife fight, there's a close-up the blade going all the way through a man's hand, but the other guy still comes off worse.
Sex: Brief shots of topless women; Lopez strips to her underwear (so Parker can get make sure she's not wearing a wire). Lopez flirts heavily with Parker, but as her advances get more explicit, he shows no interest.
Language: Very frequent strong swearing, mostly "f--k," which punctuates almost every exchange between the criminals, as well as several variations of "s--t," plus "ass," "d--k," "damn," "hell," "goddamn," "oh my God," and "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation).
Consumerism: Parker spends much of the film driving around in a Bentley convertible, while Lopez bemoans the fact that her Mazda is about to be repossessed. Other scenes feature Ford vehicles. Several characters use Apple computers and iPhones, and the bad guys like to drink Budweiser beer.
Drinking, drugs & smoking: Some scenes show guys drinking beer, and Lopez has a taste for white wine.