Jason ‘the stath’ Statham has established himself as one of Hollywood’s leading action stars delivering b-movie nonsensical fun amongst the pain he unleashes to the masses. We know what to expect from a Stath film but would we expect something extra say some emotion even drama to the affray? In Hummingbird everyone’s favourite one man army wrecking crew proves he may have some acting chops the pain he unleashes on a regular basis delivering it in an unexpectedly effective way.
In Hummingbird (Redemption in USA) the stath plays Joey a homeless war veteran whose found himself living rough on the streets of London. When local thugs attempt to collect ‘rent’ Joey flees with Isabel (Victoria Berwick) a young girl shared the same sleeping area with him but the pair gets split leaving her to fend for herself. Joey barely escapes finding refuge by squatting in a penthouse flat when he realises the owner won’t be back for months and starts to rebuild his life, fending off the curiosity of the neighbours by telling them he is the flat owners new boyfriend.
When Joey gets a job he becomes a pot washer at night by day he is the muscle man for the local Chinese mafia and the money he earns he gives to the local soup kitchen by Polish nun Cristina (Agata Buzek) whom herself like Joey not short of a few problems. With the help of Cristina she helps Joey track the whereabouts of Isabel but when he discovers who may have her he is up against the clock which may force him to seek revenge rather than rescue her.
Hummingbird is the directorial debut for British screenwriter Steven Knight who wrote Dirty Pretty Things and the highly underrated Eastern Promises so high hopes were expected for this one. So when the film came out cinematically it divided critics, the pacing was slow maybe a little too melodramatic for some hardcore Stath fans however there was enough happening in the films to everyone satisfied.
Jason Statham delivers probably his best performance in years, but you could question would this film win him more fans especially for dramatic chops? I doubt it but give him time I’m like any film star those new fans will come.There might not be a lot of diversity in the performance in the performance but for the standards, we expect from Statham it’s still bloody, short, sweet and brutal in a way that Stath can do.
Hummingbird is a story with social realism of an ex-soldier attempting to re-adapt into society, battling with alcohol, civvy life. Throughout the film, we get an insight of that old life when Joey confronts his former partner and daughter.Life is hard and director Knight highlights the doom and gloom that comes from life itself from the neon-lit glitz many see of London to exposing the unpleasantness, the relentless crime the homeless suffer day in day out. However, if you’re crying out for some old school Stath ass kicking you won’t be disappointing as he shows off the power of the spoons and that their efficiency spreads to more than using to enjoy a bowl of cornflakes.
The relationship between Joey and Cristina is an odd one, with her been a sister of the cloth. On an emotional level, she connects perfectly with Joey as her dark troubled past is unravelled but deep down we see she is a playful person desperate to burst but held back by her conservative religion. This makes things awkward for everyone and in a funny moment Joey attempts to impress Cristina by giving her a red satin dress as well as take her to a photography gallery (a passion of hers) however it’s a gallery of penis photographs!
Hummingbird is not perfect but the acting ability of the leading man is proven he can deliver more than a beatdown and delivering it successfully. The film may lack an emotional connection with some characters (Isabel especially) but makes it up in other departments.
★★★1/2 | Paul Devine
Crime, Action, Drama | UK, 2013 | 15 | 28th October 2013 (UK) | Lionsgate Films UK | Dir. Steven Knight | Jason Statham, Agata Buzek, Benedict Wong, David Bradley, Victoria Berwick |Buy:DVD or Blu-ray