Jason Statham tries something a little different with Hummingbird (aka Redemption). The gruff action star might not be tackling Shakespeare in the near future but he does attempt to show emotion , putting in a decent performance as the flawed hero. However, his hard work is let down by the movie as it just doesn’t feel cohesive.
Statham stars as Joey Jones (or Crazy Joe), a homeless former soldier who lives on the streets of London. Joey is haunted by a war crime he committed whilst in Afghanistan – an event which saw his life spiral into oblivion. Circumstance leads him to an empty (and fancy) flat in Soho, which is adorned with a wide selection art-work featuring muscley male buttocks (is there a subtext here?). Joey learns that the owner is out of town for several months, so he uses his healthy bank account and stylish wardrobe to his advantage. Joey gets back on his feet, starts working for the Chinese mafia, reconnects with his daughter, has an affair with a nun and solves a murder all within the movies 96 minute running time. Say what you want about ‘The Stath’ – but the man can multi-task.
Writer/Director Steven Knight delivers a film that feels like a hodgepodge of different ideas – none of which are fully developed. The Chinese mafia story never really goes anywhere, while the murder-mystery aspect just feels tacked on so Statham’s character can have something to do for the film’s climax. Not even the relationship with Sister Christina (Agata Buzek) feels authentic (it just seems wrong). On the plus-side Hummingbird does make the Covent Garden/Soho area of London look nice. It feels like Statham’s character never strays from within a mile or two radius, which makes the police search for Joey appear even more incompetent.
Knight’s film features some ridiculous flashback sequences and this gives the impression that even he knew how slight the film was in the editing room. There is also a bizarre hallucination moment featuring a flock of CGI hummingbirds and a machine gun that is almost comical. Action fans will be disappointed that their hero only has a few moments where he gets to show off his moves – Statham isn’t letting his fists do the talking this time. Statham’s Joey is a troubled soul, looking for redemption (the film’s better US title), but he can still be a hard-ass when he’s pushed into a corner (maybe that’s the aforementioned subtext). He also likes to gratuitously swig vodka straight from the bottle and feed his homeless buddies pizza from Dominoes (in a moment of blatant product placement).
You can’t really call Hummingbird bad, the film just exists. You can’t pinpoint anything that’s particularly appalling, yet there’s not a great deal to recommend. Jason Statham fans will get to see a more serious side to their hero, but they might be a bit disappointed that it’s not the high-octane action that they’re used to.
A five minute making-of that is effectively the film’s trailer with a few brief talking head clips. It’s as slight as the film.