Jason Statham has been part of plenty of heists in his movies. He’s also kicked a ton of ass in his movies. And he’s often gotten to do both together in his movies. It’s just kind of the guy’s thing and he does it really well. If you need something stolen and then someone beat up, Statham is just the dude to call. And one of his heist flicks is now blowing up on streaming which has him leaning into all the action that make his movies so enjoyable. Check out Parker which is ranked number seven in the United States on Netflix.
Parker plays by many of the same beats we’ve come to know and love from Jason Statham movies. It starts off “innocently” enough with the titular character part of a heist at a state fair. There are some hiccups along the way with this job that violate Parker’s thieving moral compass. An innocent man dies at the hands of another of the heist’s crew. You know Statham like I know Statham and something like that just simply won’t stand. Robbing? That’s fine. Killing innocent carnival workers? That’s a complete no-go.
In the wake of the heist-gone-wrong, the rest of the crew feel that Parker doesn’t need to be around anymore and they could use his cut of the dough. They decide to whack him and leave him by the side of the road to die. If we know anything about Jason Statham it’s that you better be sure you definitely off this dude because otherwise, he’s going to come back with a vengeance. That’s very much what happens here and a bunch of no-good double-crossers are about to feel the Statham fury. Check out the trailer for Parker:
Again, as movies go this looks pretty much like your standard, by-the-numbers action movie. We have Jason Statham fighting his way through an entire criminal enterprise while also finding a little love along the way. It’s meant to be a fun film, setting out to simply and mindlessly entertain while offering just enough whams, ka-pows and ka-booms to keep the heart racing. These are the kinds of movies the actor made his bones on and he’s still playing the part these days. When you do something you love you’ll never work a day in your life. It feels like Statham subscribes to that mantra in these flicks.
Parker came out in 2014 with a surprisingly strong cast at the time. In addition to Jason Statham, there are plenty of other notables in this film. For starters, Jennifer Lopez plays Leslie Cienfuegos Rodgers a real estate agent who ends up helping Parker’s character in his vengeance tour. Then there’s Michael Chiklis as Melander, the leader of the ring of dudes who decide it’s worth it to take Statham out of things. Plus we get a Nick Nolte sighting as Parker’s mentor and resident crazy guy. Other names include Wendell Pierce (The Wire), Clifton Collins (Westworld), and Patti Lupone.
Taylor Hackford directed this movie after helming a couple of very different films right before this. He was coming off the biopic Ray which ended up nominated for both Best Picture and Best Director at the Academy Awards. He’d also just done Proof of Life. In a lot of ways, working here with Jason Statham was a bit divergent from the other kinds of films he was making at the time. And really, he hasn’t worked behind the lens much sense.
Parker finished with critics around where you would expect this kind of Jason Statham film to land. It came in at 40% on Rotten Tomatoes and 42 on Metacritic with reviews mostly disappointed with the total film while also recognizing it for being a mindless watch. That sounds about right when examining what’s happening up on the screen and this “high” of a score is mostly around the expectations being managed early. That is to say, we know what we are getting with the actor and that’s fine.
Unfortunately, Parker did kind of tank at the box office, hauling in just $46 million on its $35 budget. By almost any Hollywood metric that’s a disappointing take at the door.
But the dude is obviously still a major draw in the right flick. He’s coming off 2019’s Hobbs and Shaw which netted a tidy $760 million at the box office. A sequel is in the works but not greenlit yet. Next up for Jason Statham is the actor reuniting with Guy Ritchie for Wrath of Man. In the meantime, join a ton of other Netflix folks in watching Parker. The heist goes wrong, but Statham is just right.