The Film: Redemption AKA Hummingbird (2013)
Written and directed by Steven Knight (Locke)
Acted by Jason Statham, Benedict Wong
The Premise: An ex-Special Forces veteran ends up as a constantly drunk, homeless bum in London, but after taking over the identity of a man who’s travelling abroad for months, he soon finds new work, new friends, and eventually, new enemies.
Is It Good?: The best movies Jason Statham has done so far were Snatch, The Transporter, Crank & High Voltage, The Expendables 2, Furious 6 & 7, and maybe, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. You’ve probably seen all of them already and more (possibly even his Uwe Boll project), but you might have missed one of his smaller movies that is actually worthy to be called among his best. Redemption ran as a rather quiet limited release in less than twenty theaters and even disappeared pretty quickly from web discussion. Probably because on paper it might have seemed like a generic manly Statham flick such as The Mechanic, Parker, or Homefront. Seen as such, it’s an utter disappointment. If you wanna see Statham kick people in the face repeatedly, it doesn’t have much of that, and it isn’t really shot in exciting ways either. If you’re expecting that, you might have a better evening watching the atrocious Transporter sequels.
But if you’re ready for something else, try to watch this as an actual drama. The movie does have Statham kick butt at some point, but it never concentrates on that aspect. There’s a woman who’s interested in his character, but she’s not a typically hot movie chick. Instead, she’s a pretty regular looking woman, and on top of that she’s a nun. Hey, respect for female characters. That’s something.
The story is not as superbly subtle as Knight’s wonderful Locke, but it becomes a rather captivating tale of a soldier rebuilding his life from scratch. Everything he does seems to lead to a new struggle. He quickly finds new work as an enforcer, but his boss clearly leads him onto a dark path. Meanwhile, he cares for the nun, and searches for a homeless woman named Isabel. Doing so, he discovers even more problems, and he’s constantly forced to reconsider his stance. Is he ready to become a full blown criminal, or maybe worse? Will he selflessly and violently defend the people he cares for? All the while, his past is kept in shadows and we only slowly get to know what kind of man he was before all of this. Same goes for the nun who has a few secrets herself (bummer: she ain’t one of those Hitman: Absolution nuns), and who develops a rather sweet bond with Statham’s character.
Jason Statham does have a very limited range, but Knight uses this very typical Statham role to tell a different, more grounded tale. It works great, and for once Knight manages to show Statham as a vulnerable man. Avast, this is not a movie like Enemy, Only God Forgives, or Under the Skin. You never get the feeling that it could suddenly go super dark, or supernatural, but it really doesn’t need to. Knight’s directing is pretty smooth and elegant, and the London nightlife often leads to gorgeous images. There’s room for a few funny moments as well, there’s a bit of nudity, murder, and one specific ballsy kill that easily have been in another Statham flick. All in, this Redemption might not be a life-changing experience such as The Shawshank Redemption or The Raid: Redemption, but it’s certainly one of Statham’s most interesting movies. It’s a humble drama, one worth a look. In case you want to see faces punched in and bones broken after watching this, I heartily recommend Undisputed 3: Redemption.
In France, this movie is called CRAZY JOE. The UK Title is HUMMINGBIRD. Mine would be
MY ANACONDA DON’T WANT NUN, UNLESS YOU’VE GOT BUNS, NUN.
Benedict Wong who might seem like a total nobody also had roles in Prometheus, Moon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and Sunshine. Yeah, he’s tight, you’re not.
Sorry, you’re wong: Benedict Wong is not related to BD Wong.
Cinematic Soulmates: Spice World, Jaws 3, All Quiet On The Western Front