5 out of 10
Release Date: 28th June 2013
Director: Steven Knight
Cast: Jason Statham, Agata Buzek, Vicky McClure, Benedict Wong, Ger Ryan, Victoria Bewick, David (Dai) Bradley, Danny Webb and Christian Brassington
Writer: Steven Knight
Hummingbird is very reminiscent of those 1970s/1980s TV series that still pop up on daytime television like Highway To Heaven, The Littlest Hobo or Quantum Leap. A mysterious drifter appears out of the fog to right wrongs and on accomplishing his mission, disappears back into the gloom. The gloom being an alcoholic and homeless haze in this case. There is also a quasi-religious angle to the movie where Jason Statham’s (BLITZ) protagonist / antagonist is referred to as an angel, when he’s only really a very bad man who is looking for redemption and doing some good things to turn the tables (the US title for this movie is Redemption).
Jason Statham initially plays a down-and-out called Joey Jones, who after a twist of fate that sends his friend Isabelle (VICTORIA BEWICK – THE CHRISTMAS CANDLE (2013))to her eventual doom and him to an empty luxury flat and a shot at recovery. On finding the empty flat, Joey sobers up and turns his life around. He finds the long absent owner Damon’s (DANNY WEBB – THE ARBOR) new credit card and also that he fits into all his clothes (which is funny because Webb is tiny compared to Statham) and sets about helping his former homeless friends via local Nun, Cristine (AGATA BUZEK – NIGHTWATCHING) who runs the local soup kitchen. To begin with he does kitchen work for Chinese crime lord, Mr. Choy (BENEDICT WONG – PROMETHEUS) but soon rises the ranks to become his driver and enforcer. He uses his underground connections to find out what happened to Isabelle, all too aware that his time and his past is catching up on him. Hiding from an appalling past whilst serving as a soldier in the Middle East, he must continue to evade detection from the authorities.
It is a well known fact that Mr. Statham was looking for a change of pace when he signed onto Hummingbird. So what we have here is not your typical ‘Statham movie’ by a long shot but it’s probably about as far as his agent’s leash will extend for the time being so that he doesn’t alienate his more traditional fans. People showing up to see this flick expecting stunts and fights every three minutes will leave sorely disappointed. Those wanting to see the baldy yet fuzzy one extend / or maintain his dramatic acting skills will be pleasantly surprised. He is battling against a horribly contrived and hokey set of stories though, but somehow he comes out OK, doing himself proud. It’s easy to poke the finger at him and say that he’s picked a dog on this occasion but he actually succeeds in elevating the material by submitting one of his best performances to date. Hummingbird is certainly one of his most memorable films, after a string of pretty dull solo vehicles (incl. Safe, Parker, The Mechanic and the woeful Killer Elite).
He is backed up by a solid supporting cast; Agata Buzek’s conflicted nun is brilliant as she battles with feelings of love, a crisis of faith and putting herself first, Vicky McClure (THIS IS ENGLAND) shows up as Joey’s pre-war girlfriend who has been bringing his daughter up on the breadline since he disappeared years earlier, and elsewhere in the cast David Bradley from Kes, shows his teeth in a rare screen role as a vicious pimp. The whole thing engages well enough and despite the odd clanger, the script is fairly, it’s just that the story doesn’t hold together when thought about. In choosing to play a bad man like a hero you run into a truly strange situation. We’re basically onside with a dangerous, mentally ill butcher who comes out of his self-imposed slumber just enough to set the balance straight. By the end we’re left in a very strange place, where our anti-hero essentially has nowhere left to go or grow. It’s interesting but too broad to tackle the more pressing questions.
5 out of 10 – A very good attempt at trying something new for Jason Statham and yet despite great acting, the plot lines are too contrived to convince. The heavy religious overtones overplay their hand too leaving some pretty abominal acts at ‘God’s(?)’ door. if Statham’s Joey is an angel, he’s an angel of death. Worth a look and completely refreshing compared to Statham’s solo US produced vehicles.
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Jason Statham: Fast & Furious 8, The Mechanic 2, Spy (2015), Fast & Furious 7, Wild Card, The Expendables 3, Homefront, Heat (2013), Fast & Furious 6, Parker, The Expendables 2, Safe, Gnomeo and Juliet (voice), The Killer Elite, Blitz, The Mechanic, The Expendables, 13 (2010), Crank 2, Transporter 3, Death Race (2008), The Bank Job, War, Crank, The Pink Panther (2006), In The Name Of The King, Transporter 2, Revolver, Cellular, The Italian Job (2003), Mean Machine, The One, Ghost Of Mars, Snatch, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
- Agata Buzek: In a Bedroom, Nightwatching
- Vicky McClure: This Is England ’90 (TV), Convenience, Svengali, Broadchurch (TV), Line Of Duty (TV), This Is England ’88 (TV), This Is England ’86, This Is England, A Room For Romeo Brass
- Benedict Wong: Kick Ass 2, Prometheus, The Lady (2011), Johnny English 2, Moon, Largo Winch, Sunshine (2007), A Cock and Bull Story, Code 46, Dirty Pretty Things, Grow Your Own
- Ger Ryan: Love Rosie, Intermission, The Van
- Victoria Bewick: The Christmas Candle
- David (Dai) Bradley: All Quiet On The Western Front (TV), Zulu Dawn, Kes
- Danny Webb: Residue, The Contract, Humans (TV), A Little Chaos, Ironclad 2, Locke (voice), The Arbor, Valkyrie, Shiner, Still Crazy, True Blue, Alien 3, Brookside (TV)
- Christian Brassington: The Smoke, Burke and Hare, St. Trinians 2