The movie Parker has the potential to become Jason Statham’s very own iconic franchise in the realm of James Bond, as suggested by its tremendous success on Netflix in 2013. Even though the action thriller received mixed reviews from both critics and general audiences during its initial release, mainly due to its lack of daring storylines and a prominent protagonist, its current streaming popularity indicates that a sequel not only should be produced but could also initiate a series of films. Fortunately, there is an abundance of source material available for adaptation.
The movie “Parker” is based on Donald E. Westlake’s novel “Flashfire.” The main character, a professional thief, seeks revenge after a heist goes wrong. The character’s demeanor is similar to hitman Jef Costello from the classic crime movie “Le Samourai” while his moral code aligns with Omar Little from “The Wire.” The movie features Jennifer Lopez as the accomplice Leslie Cienfuegos Rodgers, but mostly focuses on Parker’s core traits and his ability to assume different personalities. While the storyline may seem light, the screenwriter anticipated a sequel would allow for more character development.
Richard Stark, a pen name used by Donald Westlake, wrote a total of 24 novels featuring the character Parker between 1962 and 2008. The first book, The Hunter, was published in 1962 and was later adapted into films such as Point Blank (1967) starring Lee Marvin and Payback (1999) starring Mel Gibson. Parker’s character is actually based on the 19th novel, Flashfire, so a sequel featuring Jason Statham wouldn’t necessarily have to follow the chronological timeline of the books. Parker’s love interest, Claire, was introduced in the 1968 novel The Rare Coin Score, making it an ideal starting point for a potential Parker 2. In the 2013 movie, Australian model Emma Booth played Parker’s girlfriend, but her character was mostly in the background, serving only to explain why he didn’t pursue a romance with real estate agent Leslie.
At 53 years of age, Statham has the potential to lead a successful franchise for over 15 years, much like Daniel Craig’s portrayal of James Bond. In the film Parker, he effectively captures the thief’s timeless quality and convincingly portrays him as a slightly unhinged individual with a moral code that brings balance to the chaos. With the Bond franchise heading in a new direction, a Parker series could be a strong alternative for Statham, who, according to a 2018 report (via Esquire), has not been approached to play 007. The collective reviews for Parker were generally positive, with critics impressed by both Statham and Lopez’s performances, suggesting great potential for a sequel if the right screenwriter is involved.
Given Parker’s violent nature, Taylor Sheridan (known for Wind River) would be an excellent choice to pen a sequel as a screenwriter. The audience on Netflix seems to have enjoyed the chemistry between Statham and Lopez, making their ongoing partnership a great anchor for Parker 2. While the original plotline was mainly set in Florida, it lacked the suspense required to make it truly gripping. In the novel, Parker is seen robbing a football stadium, an Air Force base, an island casino, and even an entire town. To make Parker 2 a blockbuster Netflix Original, the filmmakers can expand the storyline or reunite Statham with Lopez.