According to its IMDB profile, Redemption (originally titled Hummingbird) is an Action/Thriller. With neither much action nor thrills to speak of, it might have been better billed as Drama/Mediocre Mess/Modern Day “Robin Hood” knock-off.
The complete lack of story bored me to madness. Jason Statham (Snatch, The Transporter, Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels) plays Joey Jones, a former Special Ops soldier on the run from a military court martial, now surviving on the rough streets of London. In order to “redeem” himself for his past transgressions, Jones takes up a job as an enforcer working for the Chinese mob. Along the way he steals the identity of a vacationing man, falls in love with Cristina (Agata Buzek), a Polish nun, and hunts down other lowly criminals that make life rough for the poorest Londoners.
Screenwriter/director Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things, Eastern Promises) must have been drinking too much wine while writing this film because he forgot to give his central character a goal. My eyes drooped periodically listening to the slow piano music that lingered a little too long while Statham traversed the streets of London performing a variety of “bad guy” jobs so that he could perform “good guy” acts with the money he earned. Does he redeem himself? I have no idea, it’s not very clear what the whole point of all his actions are, other than that he gets revenge or puts away money for people he cares about, all the while hurting countless other innocent people. Every once in awhile a fifteen second fight scene occurs, just enough to remind you that Jason Statham is indeed on the movie poster and that this is supposed to be an action film.
The dialogue is frustrating. There’s a glaring lack of subtext, and most lines were cringe-worthy even by action movie standards. Jones drinks a lot to prevent himself from becoming too violent, and he punctuates this fact with the following line delivered somberly: “When I’m sober I hurt people. I drink to weaken the machine they’ve made.” Another doozy is delivered by the Nun/Love Interest (WHAT!?) Cristina after she decides she’s going to renounce her vows of celibacy for one night only: “So this is the end of my crazy patch Joey, and I have decided I want to end it with you.” Sprinkle in a handful of over emotional monologues set to flashbacks to fill us in on backstory, and you’ve got yourself a Class One Turd of a movie.
I may not be a big action movie aficionado, but I can watch just about anything as long as it’s done well. In Redemption’s case I would have settled for mediocre, but it failed to live up to even that standard. Jason Statham has two marketable qualities: He’s funny, and he looks good running around and blowing things up. Both of these key ingredients were almost completely ignored by the film’s producers. Redemption is irredeemable. “Redeem” your ticket for a refund and see anything else.