To say that Jennifer Lopez is a global icon would be an understatement. The multi-talented actress/singer/producer/director and even writer has been a part of too-many-to-count hits both on the big screen, small screen, and in the recording studio. On the big screen, Lopez has acted in many genres of film, never truly focusing on just one in particular. One of her lesser-known movies, the 2013 action thriller Parker, has just hit Netflix and has Lopez co-starring with action star Jason Statham.
Jason Statham is the title character Parker. He is a professional thief with a code. He doesn’t steal from the poor nor does he hurt the innocent. His specialty is big robberies. When his mentor, Hurley (Nick Nolte) asks him to take on a job (stealing gate money from the Ohio State Fair) with a crew Parker doesn’t know, Parker is obviously hesitant. While the job goes smoothly, one of the crew ignores instructions and ends up killing a man in the process. Parker is disgusted with the crew, opting out of another job that would have brought the crew millions. With the crew needing more cash to fund their bigger job, they decide to kill Parker to take his portion. They almost succeed.
With revenge on his mind, the recuperating Parker heads to Florida to hunt down the crew, led by Melander (Michael Chiklis). Now posing as the wealthy Texan Daniel Parmitt, Parker meets Leslie Rodgers (Jennifer Lopez). She is depressed and an unsuccessful real-estate agent. Leslie is thrilled when Parmitt enters her life as he is looking for a house that could net her a sizeable commission, which she is in desperate need of.
Leslie starts to become suspicious of Parmitt when he begins to focus solely on one house. It had previously been bought and is being renovated by a man named Rodrigo, who is actually Melander. He is setting up the house with his crew as they prepared their heist of a $50 million jewelry auction.
Now that Parker knows where Melander is hiding out, Parker returns to the house to plant his own guns and upon finding the crew’s weapons, he disables the firing pins. Leslie has finally caught on to Parker, telling him she knows he is using a fake identity and for a cut in the shares of the robbery, she will, in turn, give him valuable local knowledge. Parker reluctantly agrees.
With Parker and Leslie teaming up, the goal is to steal the money from the thieves and not get killed in the process. That task becomes much more difficult when an assassin, hired by Melander upon discovering Parker alive, enters the picture. The assassin almost completes his task before Parker sends him over a hotel balcony. There is the requisite taking Leslie hostage, where she has to ultimately defend herself from the sexual advances from the crew. Parker and Melander also get to finally square off, as does Parker and Hardwicke, the crew member who defied orders at the start of the movie.
The character of Parker is not a new one. He comes from the mind of author Donald E. Westlake, who wrote nineteen Parker novels under the pen name of Richard Stark. The movie, written by John J. McLaughlin, was directed by Taylor Hackford, whose most notable movies include The Idolmaker, An Officer and a Gentleman, Against All Odds, Dolores Claiborne, The Devil’s Advocate, and Ray.
Parker was not the hit Hackford, Statham, and Jennifer Lopez a.k.a. Jenny from the Block were hoping for. It came in at number 5 at the box office on its opening weekend, delivering a mere $7 million. Hackford was able to produce the movie on a budget of between $31-35 million but in total, the movie grossed barely over $46 million. Definitely underwhelming given the fact that Jennifer Lopez was co-starring.
At the time the movie was released, it was a departure from what Jennifer Lopez had been seen in. Lopez was coming off a couple of romantic comedies (The Back-Up Plan and What to Expect When You’re Expecting) so jumping into the middle of an action, crime-thriller was seen as a major change-up for the popular actress. It didn’t work, unfortunately.
Now, though, this is the perfect Netflix movie for Jennifer Lopez fans. It takes her back to the Anaconda days, where Lopez was able to flex a bit. Who cares if critics were not on board with the film? They rarely know what they are talking about as it is.
Jennifer Lopez looks to continue her resurgence on the big screen as she has a few projects lined up. She will next be seen in Marry Me with Owen Wilson (speaking of Anaconda) about a sexy power couple who are about to get married before a large audience of their fans when Lopez’s Kat discovers her other half cheated on her with her assistant. Kat breaks down on stage, turning to the audience and finding Charlie (Wilson). She then marries him right then and there. Her three other upcoming projects include Shotgun Wedding, The Godmother, and The Mother. Who knows, between these film projects Lopez may even produce an album or two.