With a Jason Statham movie you know what to expect: there will be guns, swearing and violence and Jason will get to punch people in the face. People will get to punch him in the face too but he doesn’t mind this, he’s Jason Statham, he is happy for them to have their go while he waits for his turn.
This film does not disappoint on these fronts and it manages to avoid some of the clichés that these types of movie often fall into. I cant guarantee this post will be spoiler free, but hey you probably aren’t watching this one for the plot!
I understand that this film is based on a book, or a character from a series of books but unusually for me I don’t know anything about them. The following musings are on the film only.
The premise of this film is that Jason is Parker who is a master criminal, sort of like a more violent and sweary version of Danny Ocean. He is recruited by an old friend to join a gang to rob a country fair. After partially bungling the job but managing to get away with the money, the rest of the gang inform him that they need Parker’s share of the money to finance a bigger job. When Parker refuses they shoot him and leave him for dead on the road.
This of course is the catalyst to justify all the shooting, swearing and punching in the face that Statham now gets to spend the rest of the movie doing. Parker decides to pull off the heist that his erstwhile colleagues are planning by himself and hopefully kill them all in the process. However, there is a bit more to this than the revenge angle, there is a bit of Ocean’s 11 type stuff where Parker enlists the help of a local real estate agent to case joints. While doing the casing Statham is hilariously pretending to be some kind of Texas oil baron complete with Stetson hat and flash Bentley.
There is also a side story with Parker’s girlfriend who miraculously avoids becoming the stereotypical damsel in distress by running away from the hit man who is sent to kill her. She doesn’t play much part in the rest of the movie though, just turning up to patch Parker up after a fight and to quash the romantic interest of Jennifer Lopez’s realtor character.
In the end it is Lopez who falls into the damsel role. By behaving outrageously stupidly and getting captured by the gang, she provides the justification and the distraction that allows Parker to kill off the gang in a more morally righteous way than simply for revenge and profit.
Of course, this is no simple robbery that Parker is trying to muscle in on, the Mafia are involved and as he starts disrupting things, they start to send people to stop him. Naturally Parker kills them all and decides that as well as taking on a 5 man robbery himself he will also single-handedly eliminate what seems like an entire Mafia family as an encore.
So all in all, a reasonably typical Statham movie which manages to avoid the major clichés and provide the kind of decent action that you expect from his films.