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Hummingbird: Statham Steps Back onto Native Soil

  • Agata BuzekIan Pirie...
  • Action & AdventureThriller
  • Steven Knight
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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Hummingbird: Statham Steps Back onto Native Soil

Diver-turned-model-turned-actor, Jason ‘bad-ass’ Statham, pairs up with Steven Knight – writer of Eastern Promises and Dirty Pretty Things – for an action thriller that, unfortunately, promises more than it delivers. 

Hummingbird follows the story of damaged and homeless Joey Jones (Statham); an ex-SAS Special Forces soldier who, after a failed mission in Afghanistan, returns to London to life in a cardboard box.

After escaping a dangerous run-in with a street gang – one that makes it their business to superfluously terrorise the homeless – Joey breaks into the apartment of a wealthy man in Covent Garden and assumes his identity.

Along with the help of Sister Cristina (Buzek) – a young nun working at a homeless shelter – Joey begins to take steps to get his life back on track; he gets himself cleaned up and manages to find a job as a dishwasher at a Chinese restaurant.  Soon, however, his expert military skills catch the eye of the Chinese mob, who feel that Joey would make a valuable asset to their operation.  Not in a position to turn down money, Joey accepts and soon gets tangled up in a dark criminal underworld. 

Making his directorial debut, Steven Knight – who also wrote the script – puts forth an interesting and surprisingly profound story of a damaged soul in need of rescue. Fight scenes are surprisingly few – although quite impressive when they do make an appearance – but it’s the drama, centred on the main character, that is really the main focus here.    

Since most of the film takes place at night, Hummingbird is pleasing to the eye, thanks to the beautifully shot streets of London, with popular areas such as Covent Garden and Chinatown coming to life with each shot.

Regrettably, though, the film is riddled with problems. The pacing is one such issue; the story really takes its time to develop and the attempt to build a substantial character and create an emotional connection to the audience is where Knight, along with his star lead, fails. Hummingbird is somewhat grounded, but when the script changes direction – which is often – the payoff is rather disappointing.

Since his introduction to Hollywood, Statham seems to have lost that British bad-boy grit that he came to be adored for, in films such as Snatch and Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.  Now, on old stomping ground again, Statham looks like he’s a long way from home. Straining to show a more vulnerable side, the Brit inevitably delivers a one-dimensional performance – a criticism that has been levelled at him before.  On the other hand, Buzak, as a nun fighting her own demons, delivers a superb, layered and subtle performance; unassuming and incredibly charming, the Polish actress shines.

Taken as a whole, Hummingbird is stylish, slick and definitely has its moments of glory; however, there’s just not enough zeal to elevate it.

Like This? Try

Crank (2006), Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998), Snatch (2000)

360 Tip

Producers couldn't settle on a title, changing it from Crazy Joe to Hummingbird, while the film has been released as Redemption in some part of the wold. 

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