Directed by Taylor Hackford, ‘Parker’ is an action thriller based upon Donald Westlake’s novel, ‘Flashfire.’ Westlake has written multiple books based upon the character of Parker — a professional thief operating with his set of moral codes. The action-packed adventures of Parker are brought to the silver screen with considerable style.
The film follows Parker, who is double-crossed by his crew, which sets him on a path of vengeance. The anti-hero aesthetics of Parker’s character make him more relatable, and the thrilling action sequences keep us hooked. Essentially, Parker is a lone-wolf who has to take down a group of criminals with a dangerous assassin entailing him. Let us delve into further details. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Parker Plot Synopsis
Parker (Jason Statham) is a professional thief who follows a specific moral code — his actions don’t affect the poor and innocent people. He is assigned a job with a crew whom he doesn’t know much about. Parker and his crew steal money from the Ohio State Fair, but a situation forces one of the members to kill an innocent person. Miffed by the developments, Parker refuses to associate further with the crew. Melander, the crew’s de-facto leader, decides to kill Parker to acquire his share of the money. Parker survives the attack by Melander and is eventually saved by a family of tomato farmers, who take him to the hospital.
However, Parker escapes from the hospital and goes after Melander. He finds that his adversary is in Palm Beach, Florida, planning another heist. The crew gets to know that Parker is alive and sends in a hitman, Kroll, to eliminate him. Parker is hellbent on revenge and reaches Florida under the guise of a wealthy businessman, Daniel Parmitt. He meets with a real estate agent, Leslie (Jennifer Lopez), who has her own financial problems. Parker finds out that Melander is planning a jewelry heist.
Leslie finds out Parker’s reality, and eventually, they both plan to steal the jewelry from Melander and his crew. They tread the path cautiously as Parker nullifies the threat of Melander’s weapons by sabotaging them. However, Kroll locates Parker and attacks him viciously but is ultimately killed by Parker. As both Parker and Leslie figure out their next moves, Melander moves ahead with his plans. Parker decides to ambush them, but they capture Leslie. In the ensuing confrontation, Parker eliminates his threats and ventures out to undo the damage done by Melander and his crew.
Parker Ending: The Affable Anti-Hero
In the end, Parker kills all the members of the Melander crew and acquires their loot. His disposition and moral conduct are evident when he sends Leslie’s share via mail. Even though it takes him a year to arrange the delivery, he acknowledges Leslie’s help while he struggled to exact his revenge from Melander. Moreover, the tomato farmers who saved him also receive a substantial amount of money for their help. They acknowledge that the stranger they had saved is like an angel — a savior who has alleviated their discomfort.
The ending establishes the affable aspect of the anti-hero portrayed by Parker. His profession is morally dubious, but his heart is at the right place. Perhaps, it is the nature of the job that has given Parker a hard outlook, but essentially, he cares for the people around him. However, Parker is upright in his quest for vengeance. Melander’s double-crossing doesn’t go down well with him, and despite being mortally injured, he tracks them down. Driven by a great resolve, Parker believes in justice meted out with equal magnitude as the crime committed.
Kroll’s attack perhaps affects him the most. In one of the scenes, Kroll tries to kidnap his girlfriend, Claire, who is also the daughter of his mentor, Hurley. It is far more personal than Melander’s deed. Hence, he tracks down the mob boss who hired Kroll to kill him. This also becomes one of the examples of Parker’s grit and determination. Parker heroically battles through his injuries and exacts his revenge. In other words, Parker is the anti-hero who has the capability to fight through extreme odds and yet keep his moral compass intact.
How Does Leslie’s Relationship With Parker Affect Him?
‘Parker’ makes it clear that the titular hero, even though a lone wolf, needs help to succeed in his quest. In this case, Leslie becomes the character that humanizes Parker’s abilities. In action films, more often than not, the heroes are infallible without a substantial hint of vulnerability (‘Transporter,’ ‘John Wick,’). Parker plans his ruse carefully, and initially, he takes Leslie’s help to track down Melander.
Leslie is clearly attracted to Parker, but he maintains a stoic approach in front of her. He doesn’t want to create a moment of vulnerability, but unfortunately, circumstances push him to take her help. In a particular scene, Leslie gets to see Kroll’s horrific death, which has been recorded by onlookers. Despite knowing Parker’s truth, she colludes with him to the extent of jeopardizing her own life. Initially, Leslie sees Parker (in the guise of Daniel Parmitt) as a person who could help alleviate her financial condition.
Both of them need each other to survive the murky circumstances. The narrative effectively interweaves a relationship between these two characters and grounds the action film on the emotional ground. Moreover, when Leslie leaves after the ordeal is over, there is a hint of reluctance in Parker’s eyes. Perhaps he also has developed a liking for Leslie but cannot act upon his feelings due to his liaison with Claire.
Leslie understands this fact when Parker requests her to call Claire when he is morbidly injured. Both Parker and Leslie come to terms with the fact that their relationship is contingent upon the situation. However, in the end, Parker sticks to his word, proving that he still remembers Leslie’s help. In essence, Parker’s and Leslie’s teamwork alleviates each other’s condition, hinting at a symbiotic relationship.
Read More: Where Was Parker Filmed?