The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Hummingbird (aka Redemption) | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Hummingbird (aka Redemption)

A homeless soldier accidentally stumbles upon a new life.

Directed by: Steven Knight
Starring: Jason Statham, Vicky McClure, Benedict Wong, Agata Buzek

Having deserted from his post with the British Army in Afghanistan, Joey Smith (Statham) finds himself sleeping on the streets of London. One night, while escaping a pair of thugs, he breaks into a lavish apartment to discover its owner will be out of the country for several months. Smith decides to stick around, wearing the owner's expensive suits and commandeering his sports car. While working in the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant, he uses his military skills to dispatch a rowdy gang of troublemakers. This attracts the attention of a Chinese mobster who employs him as his driver/enforcer. Smith enlists the aid of a young Polish nun (Buzek) to help find the young homeless girl he once protected and uncovers some darker aspects of London's underworld along the way.
The London tourist board must really despise UK film-makers. Despite it being one of Europe's most beautiful cities, on screen it's consistently shown as a hellscape, akin to the representation of New York in eighties' movies. With his directorial debut, Knight continues this trend. As the writer of 'Eastern Promises' and 'Dirty Pretty Things', he's dealt with the city's darker side before but 'Hummingbird' sets a new bar, portraying the UK capital as a cesspool where teenage girls inevitably end up floating in rivers after being murdered by ravenous yuppies.
Anyone expecting a typical Statham action-fest will have their patience severely tested, though we do get one scene, involving a bunch of drunken footy fans getting their asses kicked, which feels like it's in the wrong movie. To his credit, Statham proves to have some acting chops here, holding his own with darker material than he's known for.
Unfortunately, the movie ultimately gets buried in cliches (passionate nuns, Chinese slavery) and forced coincidences (three cathartic events all just happen to be scheduled for the same date). Chris Menges' cinematography provides a beautiful sheen to the neon and grime of London at night and Knight does a decent directing job but it's one trip too many to the well as far as his script is concerned.

Eric Hillis