2013-10-11 08:20
What it's about:

Joey (Jason Statham), homeless and on the run from a military court martial, embraces the opportunity to assume someone else's identity and, while forming a relationship with the nun who helps out a local soup kitchen, begins a crusade against the scum of his local neighborhood.

What we thought:

First, before we get into the film itself, can we just deal with its title. Redemption is an unspeakably terrible name for a film. It has all the generic pointlessness of calling a film “Film” or “A Man“ but without any of those titles' post-modern zing. It's especially stupid as it has the more cryptic and much more interesting title of Hummingbird in the UK – I have no idea what its marketing people were thinking or if, indeed, they were. Redemption? Rubbish!

Title aside though, the film itself is... kind of OK. Nothing great, nothing special, nothing even particularly good but... kind of OK.

If nothing else, you have to give Jason Statham credit for understanding his limits and being willing to explore all areas within them. This is a more serious, more ambitious (and rather less fun) Jason Statham movie, but though it allows him to do some “proper acting”, the film never pushes The Stath too far out of his comfort zone, instead wisely allowing his natural charisma to shine through. And shine through it does because, no matter what else you might say about modern cinema's best action hero, the dude has charisma, charm and screen presence coming out of the wazoo.

Unfortunately, though the film can be mildly recommended to see The Stath strutting his stuff, it doesn't really have that much else going for it, even if doesn't have too much going really against it either. Again, it's kind of OK.

Writer/ director, Steven Knight, is probably best known for writing solid and gritty dramas like Eastern Promises and Dirty Pretty Things and he brings his past experiences telling the stories of the downtrodden to bare here, but unfortunately everything about Hummingbird (sorry) feels very much old hat. We've seen it all before, assumed identities, damaged soldiers, vigilante crusades and torrid love affairs with nuns.

Okay, maybe less so the latter, but weirdly, it's the relationship with Statham's character and his nun friends that rings hollowest, despite being the only really semi-fresh idea in the film. Their entire relationship just seemed a bit weird and, oddly, kind of icky – and I say this as someone who find that whole monastic life utterly befuddling.

The rest of the film then is really just the Stath doing his Stathy-thing, but with a bit more introspection and haunted dreams than usual and, even if we're supposed to take the whole ordeal much more seriously than his usual b-movie guff, the most enjoyable parts of the film are still the bits where Jason Statham kicks ass and, on occasion, takes names. Unfortunately, the film's lack of any sense of humour whatsoever does hurt things considerably, especially as Statham is a guy who is clearly not lacking in that department.

There's not a whole lot else to say about the film, except that, much like most everything else, the villains of the piece are entirely forgettable. So forgettable are they, in fact, that I cannot, for the life of me, remember a single thing about them. But considering how much solid head kicking The Stath does in the film, there must have been some sort of bad guys involved. Corrupt cops, maybe? Drug lords? Who knows and, frankly who cares? It's... kind of OK.

There's not much that's hideously wrong about it, but aside for the attraction of seeing the always cool Jason Statham stretching himsef a bit, there's not much to separate Redemption from the rest of its genre. Certainly not its title.
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Harrit Masha 2013/10/17 2:20 PM
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