on October 4, 2013
The title of the film is deceptive. Jason Statham plays Joey Jones a returning Special Forces soldier who committed atrocities while stationed in Afghanistan. Living under a cardboard box on the London streets Joey salves his guilt in booze and drugs. He develops a relationship with a fellow homeless woman, Isabel, who later disappears. Joey finds refuge in an abandoned flat that is conveniently vacant while its owner is away for business in America. Cleaning himself up he is noticed by some Asian mobsters when he bounces some rowdy soccer fans from the restaurant he's working in. Joey is quickly hired as a debt collector and becomes flush with cash. It is while plying this trade that word filters to him that Isabel was working as a prostitute and killed by a vicious john which causes Joey to seek revenge. You ask yourself is this redemption or retribution? Ah, there is a twist. While on the streets Joey forges a bond with Sister Cristina (Agata Buzek), a nun who works on the streets feeding the poor. You wouldn't think there would be a connection between the two but Sister Cristina is doing penance for an incident in her past life in her native Poland. For this there is a kinetic bond between the brutish Joey and the beatific Cristina that is quite tender and beautiful. You also ask whose redemption is it, Joey or Cristina's? For those who would dismiss Statham as a lightweight, some have argued he can't act, should take note of his work here. When given material he can sink his teeth into as he has here Statham elevates his game. Statham has never had a female co-star of the caliber of Buzek and she draws out of him emotions you never thought him capable of. This film is helmed expertly by Steven Knight and grittily lensed by Chris Menges who won Academy Awards for his work on "The Killing Fields" and "The Mission". This film may disappoint a lot of Statham's core fans but those who are charting his progress as an actor this film is a revelation.
on June 28, 2013
And a good movie on its own, too. I loved the set-up,the flow of the story was good and there were a few surprises. I was with him all the way on his journey as he fell into a good though dubious oppertunity. The sub-plots were good as well. I didn't know what would come next and liked the unexpected ending. As a movie, I give it four stars, but as a Statham movie I give it a big five stars. Saw it last night and still thinking about it.
on July 16, 2013
"I'm looking for someone, her name is Isabel. I've come to save her." Joey (Statham) is a homeless ex special forces soldier on the run from a court martial. When he stumbles on a chance to change who he is he takes it. When someone he knows comes up missing he has to walk the line between who he was and who he wants to be. Since this is a Statham movie I had an expectation going in. I was expecting another Transporter type movie, since that is basically all he does. I am a fan of his but who's gonna argue that. The first half hour made it seem like a different movie for him, then he became a driver/hit-man and I thought...here we go again. For the most part though this was a different movie and role for him and he did a pretty good job. This is nothing amazing and won't really change the way he is viewed but for once this isn't just another Transporter type movie. I liked it, but again I am a Statham fan. Overall, a different type of movie for him and worth seeing. I give it a B.
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, June 13
on January 12, 2015
The movie Redemption really requires consideration of Jason Statham’s film career.
Statham seemingly came out of nowhere to become a sophisticated-looking action hero with the Transporter movie series (and though many did not care much for the sequels, I thought all three were good). He was in films before that, appearing in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels back in 1998 and Transporter didn’t come out until 2002, but that was the first film I saw him in. He currently has about 39 films to his credit, virtually all of them being action films in which he often makes use of his martial art skills. Like Jackie Chan, normally he does all of the stunt work and fight scenes himself. Wikipedia describes him as having studied Wing Chun kung fu, karate and kickboxing. I am no martial arts expert but to me his style seems much influenced by savate, as he is particularly good with his feet. That, and the look of Transporter had me thinking that he is French, but actually he is British, and Redemption one might say brings him back home, because it is set in London.
Redemption actually has 3 different titles, depending on the region of release: it is also called “Hummingbird” [I am assuming in Great Britain] and “Crazy Joe” in France.
Statham’s prototypical look involves a short, stubbly beard and moustache [like a week without a shave], and a significantly balding head. He usually plays a morally ambiguous character, and when he’s doing “down and out” his hair may be long and dirty. In other scenes he will appear in very well-tailored suits which, with the stubbly beard and moustache creates a quite distinctive look. Compared to the average male action-hero [think Schwarzenegger, Stallone, etc] who were often faulted early on for their lack of emotional expression, their wooden delivery of lines etc, Statham from the start seemed to have more acting talent, as well as genuine martial arts capability.
Then, after Transporter 2 his film career seemed to nose dive disappointingly. Prototypical examples would be “Crank”, "Crank II- High Voltage", and the Expendables series (the first was not bad but II and III got progressively worse). Jason, say it ain’t so—you aren’t going to go the way of Steven Seagal are you?
Thankfully I can say that Redemption is the best film starring Statham that I’ve seen since the first Transporter [admittedly, I haven’t seen all of his films]. In fact, considering the overall thoughtfulness of this material, it’s the best movie I’ve ever seen him in.
It’s not possible to say much about the plot without spoiling it for those who haven’t watched it, but at the beginning of the film it’s obvious that his character had been a British military operative, apparently in Afghanistan along with the other “coalition” forces. After a patrol goes very badly he ends up going AWOL, and at the start of the movie he’s a homeless street person in London, drinking heavily and obviously suffering PTSD symptoms. He regularly visits a free-dinner line with other unfortunates, at which Sister Cristina, a Catholic nun, serves the meals [played by Agata Buzek, whom I don’t think I’ve seen before].
Both he and the sister are struggling, in quite different ways, to overcome past traumas. During the course of the movie they each reveal more of their past to each other, as well as their current struggles to overcome it.
Although this is about 17 years since his movie debut, Statham still can perform quite competently in fight scenes. There are several in the movie and they are well-done, but not unnecessarily gory. And though this is at least one-half action movie, there is no “chase scene” which is usually de rigeur for an action film. The other half is about their internal struggles and their gradually unfolding relationship. As for other “R” type material, there is some swearing, but a lot less than in the usual R-rated action film, and there's no female nudity (there are some black and white photographs depicting male nudity).
I give this film a B+, and am hoping it marks a redemption of Statham’s acting career. I hope he does many more serious films, like this one.
on May 28, 2014
First, I do not think the description provided for this movie is accurate or does it justice. A number of very difficult topics are handled in this movie and the interplay is intriguing. The complexity of these issues are presented in a rather cursory manner. Not that any film could truly capture the difficulties of homelessness, PTSD, substance abuse, or the challenges that the world presents to any given religion. However, the presentation and interaction were well done, particularly for an action movie. The primary characters have significant flaws but the viewer is compelled to root for them because of their positive personal characteristics. The implications for judgment are left to the viewer. I can see a variety of potential interpretations depending on perspective. Though a totally different approach to film making it reminded me in a way of Forrest Gump. The fight scenes are well choreographed but are limited in terms of the normal action fair. Statham fans may be disappointed in this regard. The ending is not a triumphant ride into the sunset. It left many open questions and is a good fit for the film.
on March 15, 2014
Also known as Hummingbird this movie, in a nutshell, describes the travails of a homeless ex-veteran (Statham) scarred by his experience in combat in the Middle East and who is on the run from a court martial. He is living rough in London, sharing a cardboard box with a friend named Isabel. One evening a couple of small time thugs decide to beat up the homeless including Statham who takes the brunt of things allowing Isabel to run away. During the fight Statham also hot foots away and find himself in an apartment, the wealthy owner of whom has gone to the United States for some months. With a home base and funds Statham decides enough is enough and turns his life around, cleans himself up a bit and gets work in a Chinese restaurant. Pretty soon his martial skills see him seconded to a less savoury Chinese family business and this in turns gives him access to plenty of cash which he then uses to assist a nun who runs a soup kitchen for homeless people and his ex-wife and daughter. He also pursues what happened to his friend Isabel.
As the movie goes along we see Stathams character oscillate between the likeable fellow he probably was prior to his wartime experiences and the engine of destruction he is capable of being. At the end of the film a range of sub-plots will coalesce into a final resolution. In the final analysis this isn't a bad Statham vehicle at all, it is nicely filmed and tightly written with an oft-times minimalist plot and gritty action scenes. The whole thing feels very 'close' in terms of the sets and the hues used. There are some delicately handled emotional points such as the way non-custodial parents wonder how their children will view them as well as hints towards the way in which even those who appear to have their acts together can oft-times be damaged internally. More nuances than your average shoot-em-up.
on July 20, 2015
I usually like every Jason Statham movie, but this one gets a little predictable and boring. Joey (Jason Statham) is a homeless damaged ex-special forces soldier in hiding. Joey falls into a little bit of good luck and gets his life turned around. He likes helping out his fellow homeless family and nun from the soup kitchen. I liked this movie, but it's not one you probably want to keep on your shelf. I got rid of mine, but I'm glad I saw this.