There is a line of dialogue in Mad Max that goes something like this:
Fifi: "They say people don't believe in heroes anymore. Well damn them! You and me, Max, we're gonna give them back their heroes!"
I suspect this line was also heard in Jason Statham's agent's office the day the Stath walked into his life. As pretty much single-handedly Jason Statham has revived the flagging tough guy genre. Sure there are others that have dipped in and possibly made a splash but no one else has had the stamina or ongoing consistency to rival him.
I was there the day Statham walked onto the stage to cheers at the The Expendables Premiere when Sylvester Stallone said "Don't encourage him too much he wants my job!" - too late.
|Jason Statham is Parker Film Poster|
However my interest in Parker has less to do with Jason Statham's special brand of Kick assery or Jennifer Lopez's special brand of acting and more to do with Director Taylor Hackford the man who made the Richard Gere starrer - An Officer and a Gentleman, Jeff Bridges's Against All Odds of which I am a huge fan , (and feel is ripe for a updated hardcore remake) as well as the absolutely brilliant mini Godfather Mexican gang epic Blood in Blood Out.
Hackford has a huge catalogue of films to his credit and whilst some aren't really my cup of tea Taylor Hackford combined with a screenplay from John J. McLaughlin the man who helped write Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, 2012's Hitchcock and is currently working on a Splinter Cell adaptation as well as co-producing Statham's next film, a remake of Heat - not Michael Mann's Heat but the 1986 Burt Reynolds Heat (or Edged Weapons as I knew it growing up) written by the great William Goldman. All good but the real draw of Parker for me - was that Parker was adapted by McLaughlin from a (1962) book by Donald E. Westlake.
|Parker Jason Statham is coming|
Point Blank was an adaptation of Westlake / Stark's first Parker novel called The Hunter. In it Parker is betrayed by his crew and left for dead after a bank job. Of course he comes back looking for revenge and his share of the heist. In itself not an original plot but Boorman constructs a credible stark hard boiled underworld in which crime thrives, he also masterfully manipulates us as he creates moods and shifts from darkly humorous to savage violence in a flash. This allows Lee Marvin to breathe life into Walker with an incredible amount of brutal ferocity and efficiency - the likes of which have never quite been matched on screen. In Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs Michael Madsen's Mr Blonde after a tense stand off with smaller older guy Harvey Keitel's Mr. White who bluntly won't back down - exclaims:
Mr. Blonde: Boy that was really exciting. I bet you're a big Lee Marvin fan aren't ya. Yeah me too. I love that guy. My heart's beatin' so fast I'm about to have a heart attack.The Lee Marvin he is talking about it the Lee Marvin in Point Blank. For similar examples of rage driven characters hellbent on getting their way see - Chan-wook's Dae-su Oh (Min-sik Choi) from Oldboy as well as Daniel Craig's Bond and Matt Damon's Bourne, there is also an incredibly well shot and choreographed fight scene in Parker in a similar vein to Bond/Bourne fight. For an attempted carbon copy of Lee Marvin's Walker check out The Rock Dwayne Johnson's Driver in George Tillman Jr.'s 2010 Faster he gets the walks almost right.
Walker is a man single mindedly driven by the inertia of revenge with little regard for the price or personal safety. His path of destruction leads right up the corporate ladder of the Outfit and he has no problem dispensing with anyone and everyone who gets in his way. With one major exception. Parker/Walker is a professional he only wants his share of the ill gotten gains not a penny more or a penny less - so this makes him somewhat of a conflicted character - a principled yet morally bankrupt man. It also makes him one of the most compelling characters in the genre.
|Parker disguised as a Regular Joe|
So Parker is a quite a character So much so that he was brought back to the big screen in 1999 by Mel Gibson in Payback or Payback: Straight Up as it is now known - Payback followed the same story as Point Blank and The Hunter but Parker become Porter and Gibson brought more humour and heart to the role. Both Point Blank and Payback are on my favourite films list.
|Parker heist crew sitting around|
Which makes most of what I like about the original Parker - void and it becomes clear that Parker would have benefited from a lead that we didn't know - was supremely confident because he could kick the ass of everyone in the world - making Parker less of a great anti hero and more of just another Jason Statham film.
|Parker disguised as a Priest|
|Parker disguised as an oil tycoon|
|Parker Jason Statham Jennifer Lopez|
I actually quite enjoyed both of those and feel that he have been a bit harsh given how I feel about Parker. I guess Parker could be called a classic Jason Statham action film and either you love them or hate them.
The Establishing Shot: WE CHECK OUT JASON STATHAM'S LATEST ACTION HEIST FILM PARKER & HIS TAKE ON THE QUINTESSENTIAL ANTI HERO TOUGH GUY
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