Skip to main content

Movie Review: Redemption (2013)

Runtime: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Rated: R (for strong brutal violence, graphic nudity, and language)
Director: Steven Knight
Writer: Steven Knight
Starring: Jason Statham, Vicky McClure, Agata Buzek, Senem Temiz
Action | Thriller

Intelligent filmmaking isn't dead yet; that's what Steven Knight's Redemption (originally titled Hummingbird) shows and tells us as it introduces us to a broken man on the run from a court marshal, ex-special forces agent “Joey Jones” (Jason Statham), who spends his days as a vagrant on the streets of Manhattan. Consumed with painful memories from a past best forgotten, Joey is a multi-tiered mess of anger, regret, and confusion as to where his life will lead him next.

When he comes across an opportunity to assume another man’s identity, a chain of events is set in motion that allows him to use his military skills to make money when he is taken in by a Chinese crime syndicate and handsomely compensated to do their dirty work.

Eventually, Jones comes in contact with a nun who runs a charity program, “Cristina” (Agata Buzek) who, in her own way, seems as conflicted about her life as he is. As the two form an enduring bound, a door is opened allowing Joey a chance at redemption (peppered, of course, with cold vengeance).

There is no question of it that Statham is one of the hottest and most admired names in the action genre today. But you can lose any expectations of seeing him go shirtless to face off against cheesy boss enemies that belong in a videogame, or charm clueless girls in a bizarre rescue mission that can only seem real in some machismo “tough guy” reality.

Redemption is one of the most – if not the most – story-heavy actioner of any of Statham’s works thus far. What it manages to accomplish appeals to our sensitivities, as well as satiate the need for raw entertainment. The Joey Jones character has too many sides to him to warrant scene after scene of bullet-dodging, lucky shots, and ass-kickings. No, this damaged individual catapults us into his life and that of his mousy infatuation, and it takes us totally off guard in so doing.

One of the things most easily forgotten in any film is that the conduct of its characters has consequences and sometimes we don’t get what we want in life. The ugly tale of what it means to be alive is sometimes best told by a drunken man whose longing is to stay intoxicated for no other reason than to avoid maiming or killing anyone else (as is the case with our main man).

Among other things, director Steven Knight’s work called for better editing, and it doesn’t always make itself easy to follow the dialog or the plot with its stunted and heavy British accents or its hard-to-follow screenplay. But it deserves every bit of the respect it has coming to it for offering up substance in a thematically disturbing movie where swift and blinding vengeance becomes the goal of its star. There are fewer fight scenes in Redemption, but the ones we get boast extreme restraint in the writing.

When we get to see Joey kick a bunch of thugs out of the restaurant he works at, he does so as a man who wants to end trouble rather than finish them off with a roundhouse kick (much to the delight of a simplistic audience). Every chance the film gets to take on meaningless, macho silliness, it proudly goes in the other direction and keeps focus on the play-out of events. This is one of Statham’s best and most note-worthy films to date.


Popular posts from this blog

When Jesus Turns Down the Glory: 10 Worst Ever Christian Songs

It’s a sad testimony when even the creator of a thing realizes that the product isn’t what it was intended to be. Well, actually it’s a good thing. It just doesn’t happen often enough. The Christian music industry is, shall we say, not up to par with where its admirers (and even creators and ardent well-wishers) would hope it would be. And when even the average believer realizes that their music is not market-cornering stuff, all should know that there is a problem.

Now not all Christian music sucks (you might even find a few rock songs from artists like Petra on Joe Holman’s ipod that he still sometimes listens to and enjoys), but what makes the stuff that does suck suck is that what sucks sucks for a number of different reasons. We begin the countdown going from best of the worst to absolute worst...

Movie Review: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

When free spirit “Jules” (Anna “Go Girls” Hutchison) tells her best friend “Dana” (Kristen “Revolutionary Road” Connolly) what a good time they’ll be having at a cabin in the remote woods, you automatically know and are glad that she has no idea at all what awaits her or her friends, and neither does Jules’ jock boyfriend “Curt” (Chris “Thor” Hemsworth). The same is true of their intellectual friend with his notably piercing gaze, “Holden” (Jesse “Grey’s Anatomy” Williams) and their stoner friend “Marty” (Franz “The Village” Kranz) who seems to have a better grasp of reality, despite himself. Takes all kinds.

After taking off in the RV up the mountain, they stop for gas and run into a weirdly cryptic and confrontational gas station attendant (Tim De Zarn). When they’re back on the road after a near-fight, it isn’t long before they arrive and forget all about it. Following horror movie suit in letting out their whoas about how cool the place is and how much fun they will have losing t…

Movie Review: Django Unchained (2012)

At about 3 hours long, Django Unchained is Quentin Tarantino’s latest mental sickness-inspired adventure of a slave named “Django” (Jamie Foxx) who is freed by a German dentist-turned-bounty hunter, “Dr. King Schultz” (Christoph Waltz) who helps Django rescue his enslaved wife from a cruel plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio) in Mississippi.