Parker (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus sighs as The Stath's charm seems to disappear from this actioner
Based on a long running series of books from author Donald Wesley, Taylor Hackford brings us Parker (Jason Statham), a professional thief with a code of ethics, who when left for dead by his current crew seeks revenge by taking the biggest heist of their career away from them.
From pretty much the first scene with Statham arriving at a town fair dressed in a very unconvincing priest disguise, Parker feels out of date, out of touch with the current thriller climate and so paint but numbers it’s hard to retain interest.
Hackford’s stable but rather dull direction isn't made any more exciting with the awful dialogue and hammy plot drivers that play to the masses. Statham doesn't seem to have his usual charm and his supporting cast, which includes Nick Nolte, Jennifer Lopez and Michael Chiklis really don’t have enough to work with to shine. J-Lo tries her hardest to make this another Out of Sight style role for her but it’s more akin to mid-afternoon straight to TV movies as opposed to anything slick and cool.
There’s a real sense that Hackford is trying to set up a franchise with this one but I find it hard to believe anyone out there would be looking out for another Parker adventure given what we see here. The entire film feels a little hollow. Parker as a character isn't really unique enough to stand out from the crowd, mainly because the set up with a thief with a keen sense of right and wrong has been done to death and the action here is neither thrilling or gritty enough to slip into the current world of Taken-esq 70s retro resurgence or slick enough to feel modern. Action movie limbo is slowly filling up with the Van Damme / Snipes style straight to DVD adventures but it seems some of the cinematic actioners are headed there too if Parker is anything to go by.
The opening at the Ohio State Fair, is packed with bright sunny visuals but they do not hold the sharpness they probably deserve. Throughout the film edges are soft, colours are all there but they come with very little pop and the intended summery glow of USA fun feels a little grubby with its standard definition basic looks. I also got a sense the production may have been fighting an overcast day in the weather too.
Black levels are good, beginning with Statham’s black priest disguise. Skin tones are nice and warm, and particularly pink when it comes to Nolte's odd looks in the film and generally the entire film is a bright and fresh looking image that struggles to really impress with its standard definition limitations.
The 5.1 track is very well put together, with some good balance between elements, a wide full sounding atmosphere and everything ticking all the right boxes when it comes to generating the mood. The hammy dialogue here is crisp and central with the punchy action soundtrack rumbling away in the rears, even better it's accompanied with a good bit of bass. The fight scenes hold the most action, with some solid punches and kicks and the occasional gunshot reaches out of the track to add that extra bit of kick to the not so fast moving thriller.
The disc opens with trailers for 2 Guns, Red 2, Welcome to the Punch and Dead Man Down.
The commentary by Taylor Hackford is full of enthusiasm but despite the odd technical insight he’s pretty much just telling us what we're seeing on screen or more so what we’re see next due to the set up he’s placed quite obviously within a scene.
‘The Making of Parker’ (07:10) talks about the 29 books in the series and delves into casting for a while, then ‘Who is Parker?’ (02:26) does pretty much the same thing in a shorter runtime.
Parker was pretty dull and not as interesting as it wants you to think it is. It has glimpse of grit but this is closer to TV movie territory than it probably intended to be. The visuals are bright and colourful enough for DVD and the audio really shows off. The extras however are pretty slim, so this one is probably better as rental than a blind buy.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 8th July 2013
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Stereo 2.0 English
Easter Egg: No
Director: Taylor Hackford
Cast: Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis, Nick Nolte
Length: 113 minutes
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