3 1/2 StarsThere is a dichotomy to the film career of Jason Statham, that is undeniable. On one hand he stars in a seemingly continual stream of modestly budgeted action pictures, that are in return, moderately successful. Yet, every so often Statham will find a good role in a great film. Redemption a.k.a Hummingbird (depending on your geographical location) ranks alongside his outstanding pictures, The Bank Job and Blitz. These are fine reminders that Statham possesses the quite forcefulness of McQueen and Brosnan, without the hulking physique of Stallone or Schwarzenegger. By utilizing his acting skills and not just posing as a physical presence, Statham acquits himself of the bad taste left from his most recent bomb, Parker.
Joey Jones (Jason Statham) is a former military solider, discharged and disgraced he finds himself hooked on drugs and living in the streets of London. One night after a vicious attack by a group of goons looking to shakedown the homeless, Joey fleas the scene and forces his way into a swanky apartment. The owner is away until October, so Joey takes the opportunity to bath, eat and groom himself back into a recognizable state. When curious neighbors come calling, Joey posses as the vacant tenant’s gay lover, much to the chagrin of the uptight straight couples also occupying the building. In the meantime, he sets out to rebuild himself back into a useful member of society, taking a job washing dishes in a chinese restaurant and donating the money to a local food bank that he once visited.
One night a drunken group of rowdy Englishmen accost Jones after he ejects them from the dinner. Handling the attackers with ease, Joey is recruited by a mafia boss, who happened to witness the malay. Before long, Jones has been labeled ‘Crazy Joe’ and is viewed as a conflicted vigilante. Dispensing all manners of violence on evil people, and then gifting the financial proceeds to the church and a local mission. A peculiar relationship develops between Joe and a Nun (Vicky McClure), the same woman who once handed him hot soup on a cold London night. This aspect of the film is least successful, until a revelation late in the script adds meaning to what seems like brazen behavior on her part.
Redemption is a stinging, hard-bitten film noir set in the sordid world of mobsters, hookers, and drug addicts. Although the story takes some time to unwind, this action-drama bristles with savory atmosphere and solid performances. Statham’s gruff, and sentimental, small time avenging angel is dynamic. Excellent photography of London’s criminal districts is beautifully captured by cinematographer, Chris Menges.
Director: Steven Knight
Stars: Jason Statham, Vicky McClure, Benedict Wong