“Parker” plays like the bloodiest promotional video ever made for Palm Beach tourism. Stabbings, explosions and furniture-smashing brawls occur at some of the ritziest (and name-checked) locations within the sun-splashed, pastel-soaked slab of Florida opulence. Kind of gives a whole new meaning to the idea of The Breakers.
The city is the setting for an elaborate, $50 million jewel heist, as well as some revenge doled out with the usual machine-like efficiency by Jason Statham. As the title character, the anti-hero of many of the novels by Richard Stark (the pseudonym of the late Donald E. Westlake), Statham is stepping into a well-known persona. But he's not exactly pushing himself outside his comfort zone; he's on autopilot here, despite the obvious physical demands of the part. Parker is the kind of thief who lives by a civilized, self-imposed code — one he expects others to adhere to, as well. But this is the same character Statham always plays: quietly cool, dryly British, powerfully lethal.
Director Taylor Hackford's rather perfunctory action film is actually more compelling before it even gets to Palm Beach, as Parker makes his way from Ohio to Texas to New Orleans before reaching his final destination. This is where the character's resourcefulness comes in handy, as he goes from one stolen car and one cheap motel room to the next, navigating sundry lowlifes in between. Parker has been double-crossed by his partners (including Michael Chiklis and Wendell Pierce) on a daring robbery of the Ohio State Fair. Although these guys have serious mob connections, he seeks his revenge by tailing them to their next job: hitting the auction of some major jewels that belonged to a late Palm Beach society maven.
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Starring: Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis, Nick Nolte. (Strong violence, language throughout and brief sexual content/nudity)