Directed by Taylor Hackford, Parker is an American action crime thriller movie that was released in the year 2013. The movie was an adaptation of a work called Flashfire, the 19th novel in the Parker series, penned by Donald Westlake who writes as Richard Stark, his pen name. The movie had an amazing star cast with the likes of Jennifer Lopez and Jason Statham playing the lead.
Set in the Palm Beach region of Florida, the movie is focused on a professional thief played by Jason Statham (known as Parker in the movie), who gets double crossed by his gang members. He sets out on a mission to take revenge and is assisted by a real estate agent played by Jennifer Lopez. Their idea is to steal from his former accomplices who are about to execute a jewelry heist.
The movie was a significant departure for director Taylor Hackford, who attempted to make it a real crime classic that everyone would love. It was conceived after the death of Donald Westlake in the year 2008, after the film’s producer Les Alexander obtained its rights.
The movie got premiered on January 24, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada and was released throughout the US on the January 25, the next day. It received fairly good reviews, with several film critics being slightly judgmental about the way it was adapted from the book, and how it was quite like the other Jason Statham action movies. However, there were many who found the movie pretty amazing and Jason Statham fitting very well into the Parker’s role. Jennifer Lopez also received great reviews for bringing about a comedy aspect to the movie.
Jason Statham plays the role of Parker, a professional thief in the movie who is highly experienced in committing big robberies and follows a specific code - he never steals from the poor people and doesn’t believe in hurting innocent civilians. His mentor Hurley (played by Nick Nolte) assigns him a job, keeping him in the dark about the crew members he’s supposed to work with. The crew comprises of Ross (played by Clifton Collins Jr), Carlson (played by Wendell Pierce), Hardwicke (played by Micah Hauptman) and Melander (played by Michael Chiklis). The job involves stealing gate money deposited at the Ohio State fair and they pull it off with ease, but Hardwicke doesn’t pay heed to the instructions, leading to the needless killing of a man during a fire they’re forced to set up as a distraction.
The killing greatly disgusts Parker and he blames the crew for its unprofessional attitude. Furthermore, he refuses to take part in the next robbery of the group, which could possibly earn them millions of dollars.
Parker asks for his share in the robbery at the Ohio State fair, but is refused by the Melander’s crew. Instead, they shoot Parker and leave him in a helpless state on a roadside. Having barely escaped death, Parker gets rescued by a tomato farmer’s family that takes him to the nearest hospital, where he dodges the male nurse, takes away his uniform and makes a quick escape. Soon he robs a check-cashing store, engaging into a minor tussle and shooting the proprietor in his leg. He then steals a woman’s car and runs away.
Parker soon meets up with his mentor Hurley and tells him that he’s serious about going after Melander who had double-crossed him. Milander and his gang have left for Palm Beach, Florida to commit another heist. As soon as they learn that Parker is still alive, the crew tap into their connections and hire a hit man going by the name Kroll (played by Daniel Bernhardt). Kroll commits the mistake of kidnapping Parker’s girlfriend named Claire (played by Emma both), who also happens to be the daughter of Hurley. She somehow escapes from Kroll’s clutches and goes underground. Hurley gets immensely worried about the well-being of his daughter and suggests Parker to escape with her, but he is hell-bent upon taking revenge from Melander and his team.
Upon reaching Palm Beach, Florida, Parker transforms himself into a wealthy Texas resident going by the name Daniel Parmitt, searching for a place to stay. It is during his search that he meets Leslie Rodgers (played by Jennifer Lopez) who is an unsuccessful and frustrated real estate agent, putting up with her mother (played by Patti LuPone) and struggling on the financial front after splitting up with her husband. Leslie gets very excited by the Parker’s interest in one of her properties as she’s desperate to earn some commission.
She gets suspicious when Parker insists on renting a house that had been recently purchased by a person named Rodrigo. Rodrigo is actually a false identity obtained by Melander, who had been staying in that house with his crew members, prepping for a $ 50 million jewelry heist. Parker gets inside the house, plants his guns, locates their weapons and disables the firing pins in them.
Once Leslie figures out that Parker is faking his identity, she offers her skills and local knowledge for a cut from the robbery. Parker considers Leslie’s proposal only after making her strip down to confirm that she hasn’t been wearing any wire. Both of them make a strategy to steal jewelry from Melander and his crew, after they rob it from the jewelry auction. Leslie can be seen making several passes at Parker, but the latter keeps his distance despite being attracted to her.
The members of the Melander’s gang pose as deliverymen and execute the jewelry heist to perfection. At this point, Kroll again enters into the picture and tries to kill Parker upon learning that he’s been staying at Palm Beach. Kroll eventually stabs Parker through his hand after engaging him in a brutal fight. However, he ends up dead after falling off the balcony of Parker’s hotel room.
The deputy sheriff of Palm Beach, Jake Fernandez (played by Bobby Cannavale) comes around next morning and asks Leslie some questions after learning that she had been doing some business with Daniel Parmitt. Leslie is utterly shocked upon discovering that Parker had been staying inside her house all this while with blood on his hands and her mother’s permission. She watches the video of Kroll falling to his death upon reaching her workplace and is quite horrified by the incident. The video had been filmed and uploaded by the local residents on the Internet. Leslie then gets in touch with Claire at Parker’s request, who comes around to stitch his wounds. It becomes quite clear to Leslie that Claire is the woman of Parker’s life.
In the meanwhile, Melander’s crew after successfully committing the robbery at the jewelry auction, return to the house and find an injured and weak Parker waiting to fight them. Leslie worried about Parker’s safety makes her way into the garden of the house, but is picked up by the Melander’s crew which abuses and questions her, assuming that she’s working with Parker. Ross steps out of the house and gets quickly killed by Parker who stabs him in his neck. This causes panic among the Melander’s gang members.
Melander eventually locates Parker and engages him in a fight. While they’re busy fighting, Carlson tries to molest Leslie but she defends herself and shoots him with the gun that Parker had planted under the table. Parker gets the better of Melander and kills him. Thereafter, he kills all the members of Melander’s gang. Leslie and Parker then hide the jewels and find a way for the former to receive her cut. They go their separate ways, with Parker showing some sadness as they leave.
Parker takes a trip to Chicago after six months and kills the boss of the syndicate who had hired Kroll to kill him. One year passes and Leslie receives couple of hefty boxes containing millions of dollars. Parker also sends a good amount of money to the tomato farmers who had saved his life.