25th Oct2013

‘Hummingbird’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Jason Statham, Agata Buzec, Vicky McClure, Benedict Wong | Written and Directed by Steven Knight


Hummingbird, aka Redemption, sees The Stathe play Joey, who finds himself homeless on the streets after going on the run from a military court-martial. One night he breaks into an apartment in Covent Garden and finds that the luxury penthouse will be empty for three months. He finds a credit card, car keys and a full bank account for him to plunder but, instead, he decides to use the opportunity to get clean and get a job. He gives up booze and drugs and finds work as a dish washer in a Chinese restaurant.

But before long, his talents are touted by a Chinese gangster boss who recruits him as a driver and enforcer. Joey rises through the ranks of the underworld in Soho – but he never forgets his old friends on the streets and looks to help out those in need in an attempt to find redemption – even if that means turning his back on the Chinese gangsters he works for.

Marking the feature film directorial debut of Steven Knight – the screenwriter behind Stephen Frears’ Dirty Pretty Things and David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises – from the get-go you know Hummingbird isn’t going to be your typical “Jason Statham” movie. Tonally the film is worlds away from the likes of Crank, Death Race et al., there’s no flashy visuals or over the top action, instead we get a much more contemplative film that, on initial release, was touted as a change of filmic pace for movie hard man and budding action star Jason Statham, yet Hummingbird is in many ways very similar to the Stathe’s previous work…

There’s plenty of butt-kicking – some of it quite brutal and intense – only this time the pace is a little slower and Statham is actually given more than a flimsy plot to work with. Although don’t go expecting anything on a par with Knight’s other scripted films (Knight is no Cronenberg for one): there’s plenty of cliches and stereotypical characters and the tale is, to be honest, nothing new. But this is definitely a change of pace for Statham, and a welcome one. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good balls-to-the-wall, all-out-action Stathe flick but it’s also good to see him change tack and approach a role for the acting perspective rather than the action – he’s done it before in the likes of The Bank Job, Revolver and even Blitz to some extent – and those, along with Hummingbird, prove he has more to his acting chops than just kicking mucho arse.

Hummingbird is out now on DVD and Blu-ray from Lionsgate.


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