REVIEW: Redemption (2013) – ManlyMovie

REVIEW: Redemption (2013)

It’s always good to remember that Jason Statham started out as an actor – and a pretty good one too – rather than a straight up action man.  Since then he’s carried the torch for old school action and ‘bloke’ movies throughout the 00’s, at a time when Arnold Schwarzenegger let his ego get the better of him and tried to take over the world and when Sylvester Stallone was sort of blacklisted.  He (Statham) doesn’t have many huge hits, but his endurance and ability to keep pumping out ‘good’ Manly Movies is remarkable.

Statham has always been a go-to man for those in need of shelter from the rom-com and comic book takeover  He has even recently derided the comic book saturation we’re facing. But as Statham himself has said, you sometimes have to mix things up a little bit and experiment.  Redemption (formerly titled ‘Hummingbird’) is an experiment gone wrong.  It’s a movie stuck in purgatory between genres with no direction and no redeeming second half.

Statham is ‘Crazy Joey’, a disgraced war veteran on the run from his military for reprisals he carried out in Afghanistan.  He’s also on the run from his conscience and keeps ahead of it and his demons by sleeping in the gutter as a homeless drunk, his only friend being a homeless prostitute.  By chance ‘Crazy Joey’ finds himself squatting in a luxury apartment where the owner is out of town for a few months, and he uses it to sober himself up.  But he’s still dealing with PTSD and accepts a job as a heavy beating up miscreants and pissants for the Chinese mob, while befriending a Nun, all as part of his ‘redemption’.

That’s a mouthful of story, and it hasn’t even covered all major bases, can’t spoil everything after all.  But I’m not sure how Statham missed it, there are too many subplots.  There are basically too many ovens firing in the script. Too many half baked threads with the one in the centre dragging on and going nowhere.

There are fighting scenes in this movie that belong in The Expendables.  There is drama in this movie that belongs in a sour sunday night TV show, this isn’t a good mixture.  As a result it’s a movie that can’t decide what it is.  On the former, the fight scenes and brutality – it’s as if they were forcibly put in to appease Statham followers, as if it is afraid they might feel conned or bewildered with all the heavier stuff that is going on.  There’s also a romantic subplot.  Say it ain’t so, Statham!  One that is tiresome and frankly, a bit fucking weird.

Statham getting it on with a Nun in average-at-best drama that is left unresolved.  Redemption, where the fuck is it? On the up side, Statham puts in a great performance.  Is that the first time we’ve seen Frank Martin cry on film?  The first 45 minutes are well put together as well, but they offer promises that aren’t delivered upon.  But it’s not enough, the movie then collapses under its own weight on around 6 half baked subplots, most of them more depressing than anything else.

Overwritten and unsure of itself, the only thing worth a damn in this misfire is the appearance of Statham himself and his fine performance.  Can’t win ’em all, man…