Director: Steven Knight
Writer: Steven Knight
Stars: Jason Statham, Agata Buzek, Vicky McClure
Hummingbird (also commonly known as Redemption) has our anti-hero Statham once again playing an ex special forces type with a troubled past. Whilst I do enjoy watching Statham’s movies, he is fast becoming like Van Damme when it comes to the vehicles he stars in and their plot lines. Having said that Hummingbird is an enjoyable ride.
Joey (statham) is living rough on the streets of London after a military operation he was involved in goes terribly wrong. Joey also then goes off the ropes and enacts his own personal revenge on those he thinks were responsible. He lives in a box with his friend Isobel and they appear to be regularly shaken down by local small-time criminals. On this occasion Joey fights back and then goes on the run in order to save his life. He ends up hiding in an apartment for the night. Meanwhile we find out that Isobel is forced to work for them.
Joey has many demons and is haunted by what happened a year earlier. Bruised, battered and in pain Joey seeks help from Cristina, a local convent sister (fantastically underplayed by Buzek) who runs a soup kitchen and who knows of him and his past. Aiding him, Joey finds out some news regarding Isobel and he decides to clean up his act and seek both vengeance for Isobel and salvation for himself while Cristina becomes an unlikely accomplice. While rebuilding his life Joey then gets involved with the local Mob.
The film is rather gritty and dark, showing all the not so best parts of London, mostly at night. But this lends itself to a kind of haunting beauty also. Photography and direction are good and really bring out the best and worst of the location. The film is rather beautiful to watch though with the directors view of a bleak side of London. The lighting is also good helping with this look. Acting is top notch, especially from Buzek who is wonderful in the role of the convent sister. Beautiful yet not Hollywood so, she lends a certain charm against Statham’s ruggedness. Statham himself also excels in his role and brings a surprising amount of depth to his character.
Most people tend to know what to expect from a Statham vehicle, but those looking for something hard-hitting and full of action akin to the Transporter may be disappointed with Hummingbird. This is more of a character study film and while there is action and fist fights a plenty, they are never really the focus. It is an unusual mix of crime thriller come character study, which sometimes meanders into drama territory. This is a very underrated gem with a reasonable script for this kind of film. There are also some genuinely funny lines to balance out all the bleakness.
Overall I would say the films only real weak point is that the ending feels a little rushed and is a little anti-climatic. Even with that though, I certainly recommend this for those who like their action films a little more cultured and thought out. A high point for Statham after some of his average run-of-the-mill films of recent times.
The Sage’s Rating: 7/10