Parker Blu-ray Review
A priest, a fire captain and three clowns walk into a state fair. Sounds like the beginning of joke. But it’s really the start of a heist, wherein the five hired men head to the Ohio State Fair to stake their claim on a million dollars in cash.
After a successful steal, the priest (who, of course, isn’t really a priest), Parker, pulls off his clerical collar and steps into the getaway car. There, one of the clowns (who, of course, isn’t really a clown) reveals another plan to the vanload of thieves that could net them $2 million apiece. Parker isn’t game. A minute later, a shotgun is pulled and Parker is left for dead on the side of the road.
Seeing as Jason Statham plays Parker, it’s easy to figure out that the bald-headed badass won’t be spending the movie’s duration in a hospital bed hooked up to breathing tubes. So, taking his own “I don’t hurt anyone who doesn’t deserve it” mantra to heart, Parker heads to Palm Beach, Florida, where he’ll get his revenge.
It’s not long before he teams up with a down-on-her-luck real estate agent (Jennifer Lopez, GIGLI) and his mentor’s (Nick Nolte, with more of a gruff voice than ever) daughter Claire (Emma Booth, 2010’s PELICAN BLOOD) gets kidnapped. This allows for the appropriate amount of sex appeal and over-the-top action. (A good rule of thumb is that if Jason Statham is on the cover of the poster or home video art, there’s a 100% chance there will be some serious butt-kicking—here, barstools, flat screen TVs, toilets, and more all aid in the mayhem.)
Taylor Hackford, who won an Oscar in the late ‘70s for a short film and was nominated for Best Director for 2004’s RAY, doesn’t seem like the natural choice to direct a boom-boom-pow actioner like PARKER. But he proves to be a fine choice whose cast selection of familiar faces, including Michael Chiklis (FX’s THE SHIELD, PAWN), Wendell Pierce (better known as Bunk Moreland on HBO’s THE WIRE), Clifton Collins, Jr. (THE BOONDOCK SAINTS II: ALL SAINTS DAY), and Bobby Cannavale (Gyp Rosetti on HBO’s BOARDWALK EMPIRE), makes the ride much more enjoyable. And although his work here doesn’t really stand out from that of, say, Neveldine/Taylor or Roger Donaldson, he does provide the basic slick and clean look that such a movie needs.
PARKER isn’t for Taylor Hackford fans because it isn’t a Taylor Hackford movie in the same vein as AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN or THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE. It’s meant for Jason Statham lovers because it’s clearly a Jason Statham movie, like CRANK and THE TRANSPORTER and THE BANK JOB and THE MECHANIC and whatever’s next. PARKER offers more of the same and that’s just what his fans want.
Video: 2.40:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. PARKER is given a slick and sleek high-definition transfer, allowing for the action to flow, the colors (from the Ohio State Fair to the Palm Beach locales) to pop and Jason Statham’s sweat to glisten.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Subtitles in English and Spanish. The audio transfer is just what action fans would want, with rattling sound effects from guns, thumps and cars.
Commentary by director Taylor Hackford: Hackford goes solo to discuss how he came upon the project, the source novel (Donald Westlake’s novel Flashfire), shooting on location, the cast, and more.
Bringing the Hunter to Life: The Making of PARKER (7:28) offers an overview of the movie’s production, with bits on Westlake’s novel, the filming locations and the major characters.
The Origin of Parker (4:18) focuses on Flashfire and Jason Statham’s performance as Parker.
Broken Necks and Bloody Knuckles (3:37) looks at the action sequences of PARKER.
Who is Parker? (2:32): This featurette briefly looks at the character of Parker, who first appeared in the 1962 novel The Hunter and has starred in two dozen total.
Also included are a Digital Copy and UltraViolet.