A military deserter, now homeless on the streets of London, lucks into finding a cash flow and a way out, but gets involved with some very bad people, doing some very bad things but with the very best of intentions.
Jason Statham is truly the last of a dieing breed: the typecast tough guy. Well, that might not be entirely true, but he’s certainly the only one left whose films aren’t directly relegated to home entertainment.
From the beginning of cinema there was a certain strain of tough guy, such as John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart, Charles Bronson and Arnold Schwarzenegger who were happy to play the same types of roles over and over again, and there was an audience happy to watch them, these where the true cinema heroes.
But somewhere in the early 90s, for some reason, this style of typecasting became a bit of an embarrassment and all the action stars attempted other genres such as comedy or drama (to varying degrees of success), or slowly dropped to direct-to-video releases as ‘real actors’ started to snatch up the action roles.
Occasionally a Vin Diesel or a Dwayne Johnson would come along, then quickly to do a kids film to illustrate their dexterity, but only The Stath has inexplicably braved the condemnation that comes with tough guy typecasting and carved out a vastly successful career without feeling the need to stretch his versatility, partake in genres beside crime and action, or even waver from his ‘look’.
It’s a enigma to be sure, but early reports of his latest British outing, Hummingbird (or Redemption in the US), had it pegged at the flick in which he was really going show us his acting worth, with an emotionally charged Stath vehicle the likes of which we’ve never seen.
He doesn’t and it isn’t, which may be a weight off for some or a disappointment to others.
It often seems like veteran writer, Steven Knight’s directorial debut is tricking itself into believing that it isn’t just another Stath flick, and at times it very nearly isn’t, with its, admittedly impressive, visual flare at odds with a story that aspires to urban grittiness, but these aspirations are dashed by story elements that are just a little too outlandish, with action that owes more to The Transporter than Snatch.
It’s true Stath DOES flex his acting muscles a little come the end of the film, and it DOES take you aback slightly, but not that much. It’s pretty fleeting.
Hummingbird isn’t a terrible film by any means. As mentioned, it looks great, with interesting and colourful cinematography that separates it a little from the average British crime drama. The performances are generally pretty good and the story is engaging enough but without really being truly gripping.
No one’s going away thinking it’s the best film they’ve ever seen, or even the best Stath film they’ve ever seen, but it can probably stand in good stead next to Blitz and The Mechanic. If that means nothing to you you’re probably better off giving it a miss.
C grade – for storytelling
B grade – for visuals
B grade – for action
C+ grade – for acting
Overall grade – C+