Jason Statham may be trapped in “Expendables Hell,” but the man is more than “action hero” fodder for Sylvester Stallone to use as a magnet for younger female viewers, the English star can act, anyone who doubts it should see him in the 2013 film Redemption. Also known as Hummingbird, the movie’s tagline could have been “A Crazy Patch Times Two.” The 47 year-old former model and “street merchant” can act and he carries this film along with his Polish costar Agata Bazek who is a perfect fit for his character in the movie.
Written and directed by Stephen Knight (Locke, Peaky Blinders) Redemption tells the story of Joseph Smith, aka Joey Jones, a former special forces soldier on the run from a court martial for a revenge killing in Afghanistan. At the start of the film, Joey lives in a cardboard box with northern lass Isabel (Victoria Bewick) on the street. Two thugs come through their alley and when they get to Joey, he fights them.
He and Isabel get separated and he ends up in an expensive penthouse flat belonging to an actor named Damon. Making himself at home, along with taking a new bank card and some clean clothes, Joey goes on a spree, drinking nonstop. When the evening ends, he is at the Sister’s of Redemption soup kitchen where he gives Cristina (Bazek), a nun who has fed him many times, £500 that he took from Damon’s account.
Statham, as Joey, is brilliant as the man who drinks to “weaken the machine,” that he becomes when he is “sober and healthy.” The ex soldier hurts and kills people with skill and little effort. He finds out from Cristina that Isabel was found beaten and dead in the river and he tries to track down the killer.
Working for Mr Chow, he gets the name and goes after the murderer. Cristina helps him and the two go through “a crazy patch” together, which is how she explains her deviation from the church. The two damaged humans link up and later in the film consummate their temporary relationship. Before that, Joey saves all his money to give his former wife and their daughter and asks Cristina to take his picture because, “I won’t look like this much longer.”
The nun reveals that she has had a lifelong obsession with the ballet and wanted to be a dancer, but her father forced her into gymnastics. Her coach raped her repeatedly from the age of 10 and only stopped when she slit his throat. Rather than send her to prison, authorities sentenced the girl to join a convent.
With films like the three Expendables movies and the Transporter films along with Crank and so on, it is easy for many critics to overlook Statham’s talents and to underplay his acting capability. Redemption, or Hummingbird, rather unfairly, was pretty much panned by critics when it came out with little credit given to the actor for his work on the film.
When Joey gets upset in the movie it is only those with a heart of stone who do not empathize so much with the character that they get a lump in the throat and a sprinkling of tears and this is down to his performance. Statham’s doomed ex-special forces soldier on the run has got to be classed as one of his best performances.
Redemption, aka Hummingbird is on Netflix at the moment and well worth watching. Statham “action man” film fans may want to give it a miss as the violence is too sporadic and not “typical” of his usual output. 4.5 out of 5 stars, this is a cracking film that will prove that Jason can act.
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