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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Taylor Hackford
Cast:
Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis, Wendell Pierce, Clifton Collins Jr., Bobby Cannavale, Patti LuPone, Carlos Carrasco, Micah A. Hauptman
Writing Credits:
John J. McLaughlin, Donald E. Westlake (novel)

Tagline:
To get away clean, you have to play dirty.

Synopsis:
Parker (Jason Statham) is a professional thief who lives by a personal code of ethics: Don't steal from people who can't afford it and don't hurt people who don't deserve it. But on his latest heist, his crew double crosses him, steals his stash, and leaves him for dead. Determined to make sure they regret it, Parker tracks them to Palm Beach, playground of the rich and famous, where the crew is planning their biggest heist ever. Donning the disguise of a rich Texan, Parker takes on an unlikely partner, Leslie (Jennifer Lopez), a savvy insider, who's short on cash, but big on looks, smarts and ambition. Together, they devise a plan to hijack the score, take everyone down and get away clean.

Box Office:
Budget
$35 million.
Opening Weekend
$7.008 million on 2224 screens.
Domestic Gross
$17.609 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English

Runtime: 118 min.
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 5/21/2013

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Taylor Hackford
• “Bringing the Hunter to Life: Making Parker” Featurette
• “Who Is Parker?” Featurette
• “The Origin of Parker” Featurette
• “Broken Necks and Bloody Knuckles” Featurette
• Previews


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EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Parker [Blu-Ray] (2013)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 7, 2013)

Maybe someday Jason Statham will break through to “A”-level status, but as of May 2013, that’s not occurred. He remains a credible action star but not one who can “launch” a film.

Case in point: 2013’s Parker. With noted director Taylor Hackford behind the camera and Jennifer Lopez as Statham’s co-star, the film boasted some financial potential. However, it didn’t do much at the box office, as it ended up with a poor $17 million in the US.

Maybe Statham is just best suited to second banana status in flicks like The Expendables, as Parker doesn’t do much to sell him as a lead. On the advice of his old mentor Hurley (Nick Nolte), a thief named Parker (Statham) works with a new gang. This doesn’t go well. After they rob the Ohio State Fair, his cohorts want to use their profits to fund a major jewel heist. Parker doesn’t want to do this, but the gang needs his share of the money, so they attempt to kill him.

Parker doesn’t expire, of course, and he sets himself after his former partners. Parker tracks his foes to Palm Beach and takes on a persona as a rich Texan to research his former colleagues’ newest scam. Along with struggling realtor Leslie (Lopez), Parker winds his way through Palm Beach and tries to exact his revenge.

When confronted with a generic title like Parker, I worry that I’ll find a generic film as well. In this case, that proves to be true, as Parker can’t ever find its own identity.

This doesn’t make it a bad movie, though. It starts out with a reasonable bang and manages to keep us fairly involved across its 118 minutes. A Hollywood veteran, director Hackford knows how to pace a film, and he creates a watchable enough little effort.

However, that’s about the best I can say for Parker: it’s professional, it’s mildly enjoyable, and that’s that. I think that fits Statham, who feels like a generic action hero. The actor boasts talent but he lacks the personality to add real zest to the proceedings. While Statham works fine as a second-billed character, he just doesn’t have the charisma to play the true lead.

It doesn’t help that the film’s attempt to allow the title character to be both ruthless and heroic doesn’t work. Early on, we learn that Parker only robs those who can afford it and only hurts those who deserve it, but the story doesn’t fit those seemingly “noble” concepts. If Parker stole from other crooks, I could buy that notion, but are we really not supposed to be bothered when he robs a state fair? Are audiences supposed to accept theft when it’s from faceless entities like that? And when he shoots a security guard, are we meant to think the latter “deserved it” because he tried to stop our “hero”?

Even without such weird lapses in logic, Parker would remain mediocre. The movie has just enough action and entertainment to keep us with it, but we never really embrace it. This becomes decent but unexceptional action material.


The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Parker appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This was a consistently appealing presentation.

Sharpness worked fine. A few shots seemed a smidgen soft, but those occurred infrequently, so the majority of the film delivered nice clarity. (Flashbacks went with an intentionally fuzzy, gauzy look; I didn’t hold that against the transfer.) Jagged edges and moiré effects remained absent, and I also didn’t see any signs of edge enhancement. No print flaws marred the presentation.

Colors came across as warm and rich. Parker usually avoided the heavily stylized tones that come with most modern action flicks, and that made me happy. Though we occasionally got some non-natural visuals, the hues were always appealing and more dynamic than expected. Blacks demonstrated nice depth and punch, while shadows seemed fine. Overall, this was an attractive image.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Parker, it seemed perfectly acceptable. The soundscape added a good sense of environment, and when the action materialized, those elements fleshed out the settings well. Various components seemed well-placed and they meshed together smoothly. The different effects used the sides and rears to good advantage, and the score filled out the track in a satisfying manner as well.

Of course, audio quality always satisfied. Music was warm and lush, while speech seemed crisp and distinctive. Effects boasted good clarity and range, along with solid bass response. Nothing here dazzled, but the mix worked well.

When we move to extras, we launch with an audio commentary from director Taylor Hackford. He delivers a running, screen-specific look at story/characters areas, cast and performances, sets and locations, stunts and action, music, production design, cinematography, and some other topics.

Hackford focuses on story/character subjects, a fact that means he occasionally threatens to do little more than narrate the film. However, the director explains the rationale behind the narrative notions well enough that it rarely feels as though he’s just telling us the plot. Hackford chats non-stop throughout the flick and gives us a nice array of notes along the way.

Four featurettes follow. Bringing the Hunter to Life: Making Parker goes for seven minutes, 28 seconds with info from Hackford, producer Les Alexander, and actors Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte and Emma Booth. The show looks at the source novel and its adaptation, visual design and locations, cast and characters. “Life” delivers a basic overview, so expect a few decent details but nothing particularly informative.

Who Is Parker? lasts two minutes, 32 seconds and offers comments from Hackford, Statham, and Lopez. The piece offers some basic notes about the lead character and the movie’s plot. It’s a glorified trailer.

Next comes the four-minute, 18-second The Origin of Parker. It features notes from Hackford, Statham, Alexander, Lopez, actor Micah Hauptman, and author’s widow Abigail Westlake. In this one, we find some thoughts about the lead character’s personality and traits. As with its predecessors, this one lacks depth and mostly exists to promote the film.

Finally, Broken Necks and Bloody Knuckles fills three minutes, 37 seconds with details from Hackford, Statham, and stunt coordinator Mike Massa. As implied by the title, “Necks” looks at the film’s action and stunts. Should you anything memorable here? Nope – this is simply another fluff piece.

The disc opens with ads for Dead Man Down, Evil Dead, and The Call. Previews throws in promos for The Last Exorcism Part II and Olympus Has Fallen. No trailer for Parker shows up here.

If you’re looking for an inspired action film, you won’t find it with Parker. Though the flick musters moderate entertainment, it feels too trite and uninspired most of the time. The Blu-ray delivers very good picture and audio along with bonus materials highlighted by a peppy commentary. Action fans might get something from Parker, but they shouldn’t expect much.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.1578 Stars Number of Votes: 19
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