Redemption (2013) Poster

(I) (2013)

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6/10
Interesting change of pace for the Stath
Leofwine_draca14 January 2014
Given Jason Statham's recent track record in film, you might be forgiven for thinking that HUMMINGBIRD is yet another action-packed beat-'em-up, but it turns out to be something quite the opposite. The unusual title is a bit of a give-away, but this turns out to be a moody tale of redemption on the gritty streets of London.

Somewhat surprisingly, Statham shines as the down-on-his-luck former soldier reduced to a life of homelessness on the streets. This is a guy who rarely gets the chance to properly act, but who can be decent when given the opportunity. It helps that his story arc is well-handled, displaying sensitivity where needed and exploring the thematic elements with maturity.

Of course, there are one or two fight scenes tossed into the mix for the fans, but for the most part this is a thoughtful mood piece that tells an interesting tale and does so well. Congratulations to all involved.
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6/10
Jason Statham super fighting...... again
SnoopyStyle21 August 2013
Jason Statham is super fighting AGAIN... and there's nothing wrong with that. This time he is a war veteran suffering PTSD. He is homeless in London and falls into being the muscle for the Chinese gang. Agata Buzek is a nun who work with the homeless. As he become more successful as a gangster, his friendship with her starts to turn to more. Is she being corrupted? Or can she still save him?

There is some good super fighting here. It's not the over the top ridiculousness but it's not a gritty realistic portrayal either. It occupies a space in-between and maybe that's the cause of most of its problems.
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3/10
Little by way of redemption
Prismark1011 April 2017
Writer and director Steven Knight probably wanted have a thoughtful examination of the situation that some ex British servicemen find themselves in once they leave the army and suffer from post traumatic stress.

Jason Statham attempts to stretch his acting muscles in Hummingbird. He plays former Afghanistan veteran Joey who is living rough in London and is a drunk.

He breaks into a flat of someone who is away in New York for a few months, assumes his identity and then embarks in a mission to find the person responsible for the death of a woman he was close to. He gets help from a nun who like Joey has been damaged by past events.

The film is rather boring and uninvolving. It is not really an action film and the message it wants to convey is rather shallow.
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6/10
IF YOU WANT TO BE A GOOD MAN, BE A GOOD MAN
nogodnomasters20 June 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Joey (Jason Statham) is a vet with severe PTSD. He lives as a street urchin and knows the nun Cristina (Agata Buzek) from the soup kitchen. After getting beat up pretty bad, he stumbles upon some "luck." He cleans up his act and gets a job at a Chinese kitchen, where the owner discovers Joey can hurt people (never mind the two broken ribs he is nursing). Joey becomes their muscle. His character is a confused mess of being altruistic, vigilante, and bad man.

He feels he must avenge the death of another street urchin, although her character and their relationship had about zero development. The action scenes are quick while there are long scenes of him having conversation with a nun, which seriously is not Statham's long suit. If you want to just watch the beat 'em up Statham, you can fast forward through 95% of the film.

I am not sure why Statham decided to take on such a complex character, he doesn't pull it off too well. 3 stars is a stretch.

Parental Guide: F-bomb, brief aural sex and nude pictures of men.
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6/10
Redemption
kosmasp22 November 2013
The first 20-30 minutes will make or break the movie for you. Those who expect a crazy pace and action non stop, will be disappointed for sure. It is more than likely that people will say/write, that Statham should stick to action roles. But I think it's a good thing he tries to evolve a bit. He has the action thing down now, why not go out and dip/try something else? The drama part does work entirely as is true with the rest of the story, but it does have something to tell, whether you agree with the arguments or not, it is different! And after the initial (slow) beginning of the movie, it does have some action to deliver too. But is there "Redemption" (as the German title of the movie suggests)?
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9/10
A great movie.
Sleepin_Dragon7 September 2020
Absolutely loved every second of this movie, I'm not sure if my taste in films is changing, but this isn't just your typical action thriller, there is so much more going on.

The film has a terrific premise, and it genuinely delivers on that, a complex story, but it works perfectly.

Statham is a much, much better actor than I first gave him credit for, he is brilliant in this, joined by a tremendous cast.

Agata Buzek is phenomenal throughout, how on Earth she's able to switch from the nun to the girl in the red dress, it's a tremendous performance.

Very, very impressive, 9/10.
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6/10
"I was alive again for one summer."
classicsoncall24 January 2021
Warning: Spoilers
What bothered me about the set up for this movie was the idea that former Sergeant Joseph Smith (Jason Statham), AWOL from the military because of his wartime experience, allowed himself to deteriorate to the point of living as a homeless person, and even more so, to allow himself to be beat up by street thugs rousting the rest of the homeless for money and drugs. That just didn't seem to fit the profile I would have expected for someone with his background and experience. Now I know a lot of ex-military wind up on drugs and homeless, but I wouldn't have expected that with Joey's skill set, which he wound up putting to good use once he left the alley on a mission of revenge for his murdered friend. The rest of the story plays out along the lines of a somewhat typical Statham flick, a bit light on the violence one might expect, and with an atypical romantic angle thrown in. Not to be prudish, but it seems like some film makers will take any means available to break down the bond people of faith may have by resorting to moral relativism and making it look acceptable to break vows. The finale as well seemed to take a disjointed turn when after throwing Max Forrester (Christian Brassington) off the roof, a city wide manhunt failed to locate Smith sleeping one off in the gutter, but Cristina (Agata Buzek) found him with no effort at all, right about the time needed to close out the story. With surveillance choppers and an army of police in hot pursuit, one could surmise that Smith's freedom would remain short lived, unless of course, a sequel takes up the chase to find him on the run and defying common sense once again.
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8/10
Jason Statham shows a greater range
Tweekums2 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Joey Smith has gone AWOL from his Special Forces unit and is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because of things he saw and did in Afghanistan. He is living rough on the streets of London until one day a group of thugs attack him and fellow homeless people. He flees and ends up in an empty apartment; he soon learns that the owner in out of the country and won't be back for several months so decides to stay there. Soon afterwards he learns that his friend Isabel has gone missing and determines to find what has happened to her. He gets work with Chinese gangsters and earns lots of money; he doesn't forget his friends in the homeless community or his only real friend; a nun named Cristina. Cristina tells Joey that somebody she knows in the police has told her about a prostitute found dead in the river; photographs confirm that it is Isabel; Joey is determined to do what it takes to find the man responsible; even if he has to do some reprehensible things in the process.

Jason Statham is great when he plays tough guys or drives around in fast cars but I wasn't sure if he'd be any good in more nuanced roles. This film shows that he can in fact handle more emotional roles too. He does a fine job as Joey; especially during the scenes where we see him dealing with his inner demons. That said fans hoping to see him dish out some summary justice to various unpleasant characters get a few such scenes which are as impressive as one might expect. Agata Buzek provides fine support as Joey's conflicted friend Sister Cristina; there is a good chemistry between her and Statham. While the film is fairly downbeat there are some genuinely funny moments; the best being when the neighbour, who thinks Joey is gay, ask if he ever fancies women and he replies that lately he has been having thoughts about nuns! Overall I'd say this is a pretty good film; there is a solid, well-acted story and some solid action; it was nice to see Statham playing a character that was more than just a hard man in a car.
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6/10
A different Statham movie, but enjoyable nonetheless...
paul_haakonsen18 August 2013
"Redemption" (aka "Hummingbird") is a step in a new direction for Jason Statham. And whether or not it is good, well of course that is an individual assessment. The change is that he is not playing the stereotypical character in his previous movies, there is something more deep and also dark to this character and this development. And the movie is more driven by his character than of the action in the movie.

I, personally, did like it, and found it a nice change of pace for a Statham movie. Of course, I was expecting the usual amount of action, fights and gunshots, but still this movie was enjoyable - especially because he did pull of this character and portrayed it well.

The story is about Joey (played by Jason Statham) who has returned from the war, and unable to cope with things he has sought comfort in alcohol and is living on the streets. Here he gets by with help and meals from a local Christian help organization. His friend is taken from him and this spurns Joey to clean up his act and get it together. However, he ends up working for a Chinese gang, doing all their dirty work. And when his friend is found dead in a river, Joey seeks out whom is responsible and wants revenge.

Storywise, then it is not as action-packed or driven by the adrenaline and action as we know from the prior movies. "Redemption" is more of a character- and story-driven movie, and it is done quite nicely. Because the story is well-told and good, and also the characters are detailed, unique and interesting.

For a Jason Statham movie, this is a step in a new direction. Whether or not you like it, well that is up to you, of course. I, however, can only recommend that you do watch it if you are a fan of Statham and his movies.
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The best Jason Statham character and performance so far...
searchanddestroy-117 September 2016
Yes, definitely yes, that's the best Jason Statham's performance ever. And I guess he will never do better. Here, OK, he fights a little, more less than in other features, but who cares? He plays, in this movie, a homeless, a war vet in search of himself, a destroyed man, fighting his inner demons. A so touching character, far away of all his other films...Nothing to do with FAST AND FURIOUS 7 or THE MECHANIC. Although, I can understand that many of his fans are deceived because of this lesser hard boiled character. He has never been so poignant, so moving. A man aware of his own faith and destiny. Such a shame that no more audiences appreciated this movie.
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8/10
Good Challenge for Jason Statham in this Genre-Bender
LeonLouisRicci8 October 2014
Great Looking Drama with a Goodly Amount of Action Mixed in with a Message and a bit of Romance. Jason Statham Stretches His Street Cred as a Kick-Asser in this Noble Attempt at Elevating His Range Beyond the Standard Stath Stuff.

Agata Buzek Shines as a Nun, that Returning Special Forces Joey Smith/Jones Admires, and is Especially Helpful and a Compelling Character in Her Own Right, Along Side the Brooding Soldier Suffering Greatly from the War Experience in the Middle East.

She is the Equilibrium Needed for His Return to a Normal Life as He Tries to Connect with His Estranged Daughter and Survive in the Challenging World On the Streets.

This is an Exceptional Film and is Entertainingly Different in the Confines of Statham's Usual Genre. It's Got a Lot of Heart and the Ending is a Surprising Non Cop-Out.

Definitely Worth a Watch for Fans of the Star to See if He can Pull this Off (He does), and Moviegoers who Stay Away from Crime and Action Movies that They Usually Find Routine, will Most Likely See it as Refreshing.
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9/10
A Man, A Nun, and a Gun
zardoz-1326 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
"Redemption" isn't the usual, run-of-the-mill, Jason Statham nonsense. Indeed, writer & director Steven Knight's first film as a helmer is a hybrid crime thriller and an intense psychological character study about a loose cannon who literally wants to redeem himself. One of the uncharacteristic elements is our hero's relationship with a ballerina-turned-Catholic nun who has her own history of abuse and violence. Statham is cast as a man with a shady patch. Something devastating happened to him as a Special Forces soldier in Afghanistan that traumatized him and set him on the low road. He has been dodging the authorities and living in cardboard boxes on the mean streets of London as a drug attic. Hoodlums who prey on these poor, homeless people give our hero a terrible pasting, but he manages to escape their clutches. The woman that Joey was with ends up floating in the river as the result of a sadistic individual who loves to rough up hookers. Meantime, Joey eludes these thugs and breaks into the apartment of a gay man. He appropriates the man's apparel and uses his money to help a nun, Christina (Agata Buzek) and her soup kitchen for the homeless. Once Joey recovers from the assault in the alley, he takes a job as a menial dishwasher and comes to the attention of the owner of the restaurant after he handles a group of rowdy customers. Mr. Choy (Benedict Wong) is an Asian crime boss in London who decides that Joey can be of use to him so he sends him out to make collections from people who owe him money. Joey has a talent for violence and he handles himself like a confident, self-assured individual. The driving force behind Joey's new persona is his desire to find Isabela (Victoria Bewick) who died at the hands of an abusive customer. The characters in Knight's film are gripping people with problems. The scene where the nun relives her past as a promising ballerina who was raped 17 times by her teacher is startling. Eventually, Joey finds the dastard who was responsible for Isabela's murder. Joey meets Mark Forrester at a party in a high rise building and literally throws this bastard off the top of the building. Despite its plethora of violence, "Redemption" aims to be more than a rugged thriller. This is a genuinely serious thriller about a flawed man without a trace of charisma. Statham fans who prefer his typical superficial, brawny movies may not enjoy "Redemption" as much as those who like to see the bullet-headed maverick a role of greater substance. Basically, Statham is a bad man who does good things. Uneven at times, "Redemption" is nevertheless entertaining fodder.
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8/10
Statham's first step towards showing that he can actually act a bit
neil-47612 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Joey (Jason Statham), damaged by experiences in Afghanistan, descends into alcoholism and living on the street until he is beaten up by people who push his friend Isabel into prostitution. Helped by soup kitchen nun Sister Cristina, not to mention 8 months in a luxuriously appointed and vacant flat which he just happens to fall into (literally), he gets himself sorted out, finds work, and sets out to do what he can to help Isabel.

Credit to Jason Statham - while Joey is clearly pretty much the standard Statham character, and the Stathe does in this film what the Stathe does best, there is quite a lot more here than obviously meets the eye. Social issues are addressed, the characters are all interesting (and conflicted Sister Cristina is an unusual second fiddle), the London cinematography is excellent, and Statham actually gets to do some acting (not very much, but he turns out to be much better at it than I expected).

I think this film may turn out to be an early step towards widening his repertoire as he gets older.

The hummingbird motif is so muddlingly included and "explained" that it might as well have been omitted, by the way.
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5/10
Suffered from Poor Overall Structure
Uriah4324 September 2015
While serving in Afghanistan, a British soldier who goes by the name of "Joey" (Jason Statham) becomes emotionally unglued while watching his buddies being killed and takes matters into his own hands by killing a person he had taken prisoner. What he doesn't know is that his prisoner was totally innocent and that his actions are being observed by a drone flying overhead. As a result, rather than face a courts-martial he chooses to go underground and hide out in the mean streets of London. It's at this time that fortune smiles upon him when he accidentally stumbles upon an apartment belonging to a rich businessman who is temporarily on an extended business trip to the United States. This much needed sanctuary gives him the time to regain his strength and sanity in such a way that he is able to attain a large measure of financial success working for a crime boss who deals in drugs and prostitution. Now rather than reveal any more of this movie and risk spoiling it I will just say that it had potential but failed to establish a concise storyline at the beginning which caused confusion further along. I also didn't care for the ending which left too many things unresolved. In any case, it was a decent action film which I thought suffered from poor overall structure and I have rated it accordingly. Average.
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6/10
Fifty Coke Zeroes?......
FlashCallahan27 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Homeless and on the run from a court martial, Joey, an ex-special forces soldier navigating London's criminal underworld, seizes an opportunity to assume another man's identity.

He then goes on the seek the killers of his friend and sort of surrogate daughter, whilst trying to romance a Nun, and work for the China Town based Gangsters....

On first look, yes, you would automatically think this is another Statham, action movie.

Even I was fooled that this was another beat em up type film, loosely based on his awful movie of last year 'Safe'.

But its a proper drama, albeit with fights galore, but Statham really shows his range in this, and kudos to him for going back to the roots he had with Ritchie before the Transporter movies made him a living genre.

Its not the best movie in the world and there are plot holes galore, but the way London is shown in this is like something I've never seen before, you either get gritty London ala anything with Danny Dyer in directed by Nick love, or the polished, trendy London, as seen in Basic Instinct 2, and Welcome To The Punch.

Its not going to be on anyone's best of the year list, and I doubt I'll ever see it again, but its nice to see Statham go for something different.
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8/10
An alarming view of PTSD in soldiers from the Iraqi Afghanistani war
gradyharp29 June 2013
We are witnessing some very disturbing incidents in this country at present - senseless killings by soldiers who have been mentally bruised by the combat in the seemingly endless wars in the Middle East. REDEMPTION brings an extreme example of how combat exposure can damage otherwise stable persons and if that aspect of the story could have been more explored the movie would have been better.

As it is REDEMPTION (aka HUMMINGBIRD for reasons obvious after seeing the film) is a fine Jason Statham movie as written and directed by Steven Knight who has given us Eastern Promises, Amazing Grace and Dirty Pretty Things. The film is greatly enhanced by the cinematography by Chris Menges and the original musical score by Dario Marianelli. But in the end the film belongs to Jason Statham who may possible be offering his best role to date.

Joey Jones (Jason Statham) is an alcoholic, homeless military deserter on the run from a military court martial: being caught up in the life or death circumstances and the eye for an eye philosophy of the Afghanistani war zone he fled the unbearable trauma and has been hiding his memories in alcohol, living with street people, sharing a cardboard box with fellow homeless Isabel (Victoria Bewick). His food comes from a Redemption House mission run by nun Sister Cristina (the fine Polish actress Agata Buzek) who has past secrets of her own. One night Joey is beaten severely by gang members and Isabel escapes. After this Joey flees, falls (literally) into the fancy apartment of a photographer who is on vacation and there he decides to turn his life around. He gives up alcohol, works out on the roof to rebuild his body, shaves his long hair, dresses in the owner's clothes, uses the owner's TM card for money and sets out to make a living working in a Chinese restaurant. His talents as a brilliant fighter are noted and soon he is making big money working as a 'fixer', and his life becomes one of an avenging angel, giving his 'fixer' earnings to Sister Cristina and to his ex-wife and child. The action is non-stop with many intrusions of nightmares from Joey's experiences in Afghanistan, the subplots are strong, and though some aspects of each of the characters are not fully drawn, there is enough of a forward lunging story to satisfy - even the rather surprising ending. Certainly this is a film that will satisfy the legions of Jason Statham fans.

Grady Harp
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Hummingbird or Redemption?
lavatch18 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This film was initially titled "Hummingbird." The name was subsequently changed to "Redemption." This degree of confusion is an indication of something amiss in conceptualizing a film.

On the surface, the film provided good dramatic tension and plenty of action. But there was no depth to the characters, and the main problem was in the screen writing.

From start to finish, the screenplay lacked credibility. The biggest stretch was in attempting to believe in the evolving relationship of the nun and the commando. These two wounded and fragile characters felt a bonding in the traumatic experiences of their past. But the circumstances of why the two characters were drawn to one another was superficial with the filmmakers relying on externals to demonstrate the characters' internal pain. The most preposterous scenes involved the striking red dress worn by the nun.

Every character in this film was a cardboard cut-out. The performers worked hard with substandard lines of dialogue, and there was some beautiful footage of various places in London. But the film fell short of the mark as a either a metaphorical rendering of "hummingbird" or as a struggle to attain "redemption."
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8/10
Everybody loves a comeback story
siderite6 July 2013
I have waited for a long time to see this movie, because the trailer showed me something more than the usual Statham muscle, car and muscle- car mayhem. And the film held up the promise of the trailer (something rare enough these days).

Joey Jones is a broken man, his psyche messed up after Iraq, now a homeless guy in London. He gets a break, which makes him get cleaned up, get hired by some gangsters to beat people up and to have a romantic relationship with a nun (yes, you read that right). The beauty of the film is that it doesn't stop here, with an easy fix to a deep problem, but goes further, exploring the motivations of people and how emotional trauma shapes someone.

Enough to say that the film does not have a happy end, nor a sad one. The characters in the movie have depth and so the ending is a complex one. Statham is not here for the muscle, but for his ability to portray an average "Joe" that is tormented by his past. I really liked this movie.
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7/10
A good emotionally driven Jason Statham film
KineticSeoul18 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I read some negative reviews about this movie. It's a film that tries to combine emotionally driven drama, with thrills and action. And I must say this film does deliver the goods for the most part. I personally think Jason Statham is a good action star, perhaps even great. Although he plays a character with similar demeanor in most of his movies. It does work and he brings that badass charisma like always. Redemption is no exception, the plot is about a broken down man that is trying to atone and find justice. In a harsh city area in London, and fights for what he believe to be good. Even if he has to join a Chinese mafia to do so. And during this process, it shows the bonding and relationship with a nun that helps out and runs a soup kitchen for the homeless. You know the saying opposites attract? Well that applies to this film. This is a dark and harsh movie that takes place during the night time mostly. And it really does a fluent job of bringing out the gritty and nasty side of some people and what they are capable of doing. It's a compelling and haunting movie that absorbed me into the situation and setting. And found myself emotionally invested in this film...Well at least for the first half. It would have been a standout film if it kept the momentum from the first half. The fights aren't over the top or crazy but it brings out the realism and believability. Although it could have used a bit more work on it, even if the fight sequences are very few. Jason Statham did a fine job of bringing out the psychologically and emotionally damaged ex-soldier. He might not be a actor with range but he gets the job done really well. As long as the story and direction of the film fits him. This film also ends in the right note. Overall this film is very well worth seeing. And is a great rental.

7.3/10
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6/10
There's a few good scenes of Statham doing what he does best; beating people up.
Hellmant2 July 2013
'REDEMPTION': Three Stars (Out of Five)

Jason Statham stars in this dramatic crime thriller about a homeless man who takes the identity of another man and goes to work in London's criminal underworld, in order to provide for the poor (like him) and avenge his missing girlfriend. The movie was written and directed by Steven Knight, in his feature film directorial debut. Knight's other writing credits include the critically acclaimed crime dramas 'EATERN PROMISES' and 'DIRTY PRETTY THINGS' as well as the historical drama 'AMAZING GRACE'. The movie is much more of a character drama than Statham's usual action fare (he switches off from time to time). It's nice for a change to see him doing different parts but I'd like to see him get his hands on a really good script. This film is interesting but not too engaging.

Statham plays Joey Smith, an ex-Royal Marine who is now homeless on the streets of London. After being attacked one day, by gang members, Joey is separated from his girlfriend and brakes into an apartment to hide. Learning the man who lives there is away for several months he decides to stay and temporarily take his identity. He then uses his skills and military training to secure jobs working in the criminal underworld while he looks for his girlfriend and gives his profits to other poor people in need. He befriends a young nun (Agata Buzek), who works for a local church soup kitchen providing food to the homeless, and enlists her help in finding his girlfriend.

The movie has a few good scenes of Statham doing what he does best (beating people up) but for the most part the movie is pretty light on action. This does leave room for Statham to play a slightly more developed and likable character than he usually does but it's Buzek who gives the film's most complex and interesting performance. She kind of steels the show from Statham, at least on a dramatic level, and since there's not a lot of action that's all it takes. Statham does have some decent chemistry with her though and this gives him the chance to show off his romantic leading man chops as well. This is where the film is strongest. It does have a few good thrills and punches but for the most part it works best as a character drama. It's nice that Statham is diversifying himself a little by doing projects like this but his action films are still his best (at least since his early Guy Ritchie work).

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4/10
A humdrum hop into bare-bones hokum.
Pjtaylor-96-13804414 March 2018
'Hummingbird (2013)' is a humdrum hop into the type of weakly written, poorly acted and crudely choreographed bare-bones action-flick that Jason Statham has made more than his fair share of, except here even the action is muddy at best and most of the piece is pretty much entirely forgettable. There are a few odd plot strands which serve to bore more than bemuse, but it's the lack of engagement or even really excitement that kills any enjoyment that could be found in the relatively slow and dull picture. A poor attempt even by these standards. 4/10
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7/10
'Statham lite'
bowmanblue17 August 2014
If you know your Jason Statham films, you'll know that he generally runs round either shooting or punching a seemingly never-ending stream of baddies for the entire ninety minutes.

Here, however, he goes for a different approach. 'Hummingbird' is the 'diet' version of his films. Instead of the whole ninety minutes being taken up with him whacking people, the violence only lasts for a few (well dispersed) minutes throughout the whole film. For the rest of it, it does his best at acting.

And, whether he succeeds or not will largely depend on how much you like him in the first place. He's not going to win any Oscars, but he does his best to portray a bad man who's doing the only thing he knows while, at the same time, trying to make amends. If you like him, you'll probably like this. If you don't like him, this won't go far to win you over to his way of film-making.

Also, know what you're getting. Like I say, the action isn't really there, so, if you're a fan of his action movies and are expecting something like Crank or the Transporter here, you'll leave disappointed.

However, as a fan of 'The Stath' I thought he was pretty good in this. He plays a gangster who falls in love with a nun (yes, seriously) and I found their relationship pretty compelling (and their relationship is basically what this whole film is about). So, I was left happy at the end of the movie.

So, know what you're getting - no electrocuting tongue or wiping out hordes of bad guys, just a film about redemption (which I believe is the movie's other title in America).

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Hard reflections
chaos-rampant30 August 2013
There isn't a whole lot of room for action stars to show some artistic self. Basically, we can expect a single type of movie. The reflective movie, usually taken up as they age and amalgamating a laconic spiritual outlook: mortality, floating and transient world of sorrows. Not a bad deal, and if done right it can be something

Let's find out. Statham plays a scarred special ops soldier who deserted and is hiding in London as a bum. He assumes another's identity, living in his upscale house—so far this is not unlike film noir where a schmuck suffers a change of self. The bluish palete, wandered nightscapes, and the fact he works as a driver for the mob have recalled Drive for some people, another film that assumes a numbed distance from which to look at the drift of emotions.

So he meets up with a woman, scarred herself and a nun so we can have god in the thing, a more cosmic absence to illuminate a more solitary human warmth. Revenge is the main dish, a girl dear to him was found dead. There is some kicking and bashing heads as we prepare for the absolution. All, still at this point, to bring contrast to the lonely, searching souls.

The parting notion when all is done is sweet: the two of them were alive for one summer, possibly the last for both. Fleeting existence, there was nothing else. Like Drive it may pose as Zen for dummies. But something about this mish mash, the clean change of selves and statements on violence didn't work for this viewer. (convince?)
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9/10
what an action movie should be ...
A_Different_Drummer29 June 2013
To understand why this movie is to be savoured, you need to consider where it comes from. Action movies these days, a dime a dozen. Hollywood (eg JJ Abrams) bangs them out like donuts on a production line. Then you have the second tier stuff, guys like Van Damme and Seagal, both old enough to be each other's grandfather, cranking out films for approximately what a summer student would make pushing fries and Big Macs between classes -- and the films show it. In this category you also have the MMA stuff, all from directors so young they need permission to stay up late for the night scenes. And then you have the Indies, films that not only have no recognizable talent behind the camera, but unknowns in front also. Included in this class you have the Chinese and assorted Asian imports, with quality so uneven (assuming you don't mind the dubbing) you don't know whether to laugh or cry. Into his arena of pain -- mental pain -- comes Redemption, not only Statham's best acting in 100 years (who knew he even could act?) but also clearly the work of a director who understands that sometimes less is more. Most reviews of a Statham film will list the fight scenes and then tell you what is right or wrong about each. Not that kind of film. A real honest to God film-film that actually engages the viewer and moves along in a very satisfying way. Would that they were all like that.
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7/10
Gritty, dirty urban London and two extreme survivors
secondtake6 November 2013
Redemption (2013)

This isn't half as bad as some of the review lead to believe, nor is it an amazing new film in any way. The basics are a bit clichéd, for sure: a troubled man (an ex- soldier with PTSD) is finding his way in regular London society, and a nun doing charity bread line work gives him a way up from his morass.

Along the way, the leading man (played by Jason Statham, new to me) goes into a hyper violent world of drug running and getting payment by force. And long the way this nun (played by Agata Buzek) turns out to be in the nunnery as a way to reform a troubled past of her own. So the man reveals to her the real meaning of life and of goodness, and she does the same for him.

Or something like that. It's not a moral tale and it never gets sappy, but it does try to show how two people on the opposite fringes of life are actually kind of similar and they need each other and are good for each other. It gets to be touching and convincing if you let it.

I don't quite know the year it's set—it seems a year or three in the future for some reason. The drug running (led by a Chinese gang) and the nunnery (in the usual clichéd fashion) are the weakest parts of the setup, but they are well done enough to let the two leads do their thing. The two leads are rather strong and in a way it's good they are not famous—we have no expectations of what kinds of people they are. The rough urban world they have to survive only makes them more exceptional as the movie moves on.

Good stuff in many ways, and well put together. This is the director's first film and that might explain a kind of "by the book" quality. But it's strong. And he's the writer, too, and has a bit of background with screenplays, so the script works pretty well, even as it plays with known tricks and conflicts. I'd give this a look if you can keep an open mind and let it get going for twenty minutes or so.
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