|Parker is a 2013 American crime thriller film directed by Taylor Hackford. Starring Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez, the film is adapted from Flashfire, the 19th Parker novel, written by Donald Westlake under the name Richard Stark.
Primarily set in Palm Beach, Florida, the film revolves around professional thief Parker (Statham), who is double-crossed by his crew. He sets out for revenge on them, travelling to Palm Beach, where he enlists the help of Leslie (Lopez), who assists him in a quest to steal what his former crew, headed by a man named Melander (Michael Chiklis), rob in their jewelry auction heist. As the story develops, Leslie falls for Parker, who remains faithful to his girlfriend Claire (Emma Booth).
Parker marked a departure in Hackford’s career, as he had hoped to make it his first film noir. The film, produced on a “mid-30s” budget, was conceived following Westlake’s 2008 death, when producer Les Alexander secured the rights to it.
It premiered in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 24, 2013, and was released in the United States on January 25. Reviews have been generally lukewarm, with many film critics feeling that it was a poor adaptation of the book, and typical of Statham’s sub-par action films of the past few years. Others found Statham appropriate and well-fitted for the role of Parker and praised the work of Lopez as providing comedic relief. It grossed $46.3 million at the box office.
Parker (Jason Statham) is a professional thief, who doesn’t steal from the poor or hurt innocent people. His mentor Hurley (Nick Nolte) asks him to do a five-man job with a crew he doesn’t know, which consists of Melander (Michael Chiklis), Carlson (Wendell Pierce), Ross (Clifton Collins Jr.) and Hardwicke (Michah Hauptman). The job is successful, but Parker refuses to go further with another plan that will earn them millions. They shoot him and leave him to die in a lake. Having barely survived, he is found by a family who take him to the hospital, where he chokes out a male nurse, steals his uniform, and escapes. He robs a check cashing store to get funds, shooting one proprietor in the leg, and stealing a woman’s car parked outside. Parker tells Hurley that he wants to go after Melander for double-crossing him, who he later discovers is in Palm Beach, Florida for another heist. The crew learn that he is alive, and uses their mob connections to get a hit-man named Kroll (Daniel Bernhardt) to go after Parker. He tries to kidnap Hurley’s daughter and Parker’s girlfriend Claire (Emma Booth). She narrowly escapes and goes into hiding at a Fish Camp. Hurley is worried and suggests Parker run away with Claire, but he refuses, completely intent on revenge against Melander.
Parker travels to Palm Beach and poses as a Texan named Daniel Parmitt. Leslie Rodgers (Jennifer Lopez) is a depressed, unsuccessful real-estate agent living with her mother (Patti LuPone), and struggling financially after a divorce. She is thrilled when Parker (as Parmitt) appears to become interested in her properties, because she is desperate for a commission. Leslie soon becomes suspicious when Parker only takes interest in a house that a man named Rodrigo is renting. In reality, Rodrigo is Melander, and is staying in this house with the crew in anticipation of a $50 million dollar jewelry auction from which they plan to steal jewels. Leslie becomes suspicious and eventually finds out that Daniel Parmitt is a fake identity. She offers her knowledge of the area as help to Parker, if he will give her a commission. He considers it after making her strip to make sure she isn’t wearing a wire. Together, they plan to steal the jewels from Melander after he robs them from the auction. Leslie kisses Parker, but he stops it from going any further.
Before the auction, Melander’s crew disguise themselves as movers to plan their heist. They soon learn that Parker is in Palm Beach, and send Kroll to kill him. After a bloody fight, Kroll stabs Parker through the hand, but ends up falling from a balcony and dying. The next morning, Palm Beach Sheriff’s Deputy Jake Fernandez (Bobby Cannavale) arrives with questions for Leslie about Daniel after learning that she was in business with him. She is shocked when she discovers a bloody Parker hiding in her house, and tells Jake that Daniel was a waste of her time. At her workplace, Leslie is horrified when she watches a video of Kroll’s death online, which was filmed by local onlookers. When she gets back to her condo, Claire is there stitching up Parker’s wounds. Leslie is hurt, believing she had a chance to be with Parker romantically. Claire goes back into hiding at the Fish Camp.
The crew successfully steal the jewels at the auction, and swim back to the house, where a weak and injured Parker has already arrived. Worried that Parker might get hurt, Leslie makes her way to the house and begins snooping around the garden. She is found and taken inside, where the crew abuse and grill her with questions, assuming she is working with Parker. Melander finds Parker and a fight ensues. Carlson starts to molest Leslie, and she shoots him multiple times with a gun she noticed under the table. Melander is eventually killed after Parker stabs and shoots him. All members of the crew end up dead. Parker and Leslie arrange for the jewels to be hidden and for her to receive her cut. She tells him that she never did have a chance to be with him, and they part ways. Six months later, Parker goes to Chicago and kills the mafia boss who hired Kroll to kill him. A year later, Leslie receives a hefty box in the mail containing bundles of hundred dollar bills. In the final scene before the credits, the tomato farmers who saved Parker’s life are talking to somebody about how they got all this money that changed their lives, and they credit the stranger they rescued, who they think was an angel sent to test them.