Parker review (Blu-ray)

"I don't steal from anyone who can't afford it, and I don't hurt anyone who doesn't deserve it." So says Parker, a "gentleman" thief with a code of ethcs and a mean right hook. When the crew he pulls a job with double crosses him, he plots his revenge. And you can bet it's gonna hurt.

Yup, it's a pretty standard action/thriller/revenge flick, with Statham on his usual form. He scowls, he growls, he punches and shoots and stabs people. Which is pretty much what anyone wants from a Statham film. The opening robbery of a fairground sets the scene nicely, with plenty of humour to be had – Statham dressed as a priest, and badass Chiklis as a clown, for starters. As the gang members make their getaway, they try to rope Parker in to their next job: a jewellery heist that will net them in the vicinity of $75 million. But he's not interested; he just wants to take his cut and move on. So rather than just shake hands and go their separate ways, they shoot him and leave him for dead at the side of the road. Bad guys, huh?

After a two-minute stint in hospital – the Stath has amazing recuperative powers – Parker pinches and ambulance and sets off to hunt down the gang and do very nasty things to them. Enter J-Lo, as a real estate agent that Parker hires to help him find the Florida house the gang is hiding out in. And here's where the film's wheels wobble a little bit. Lopez is a decent enough actress, and we all know she's lovely to look at, but her part here feels utterly pointless. She's not there as a love interest for Parker – it's already been well established that he has a girlfiend he's committed to – and the real estate stuff just feels shoehorned in. Still, did I mention that she's lovely to look at?

There are other flaws, too. For an action film, it's a little too long, clocking in at just under two hours. A good action film needs to run about 90 minutes – get in, blow shit up, kill some people and get out. Simple. As such, the story feels a bit padded and it drags and sags in places. Also, while the action scenes are very well done, there weren't enough of them. And don't get me started on Statham's attempt at a Texan drawl. Still, none of this will matter to the Statham fans, who will lap Parker up. It's pure Stath, even if he does look funny in a stetson.

EXTRAS ★★★ There's an audio commentary with director Hackford; the featurette Bringing The Hunter To Life: The Making Of Parker (7:28); the featurette Who Is Parker? (2:31); the featurette The origin of Parker (4:17); and the featurette Broken Necks And Bloody Knuckles (3:36).

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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