Jason Statham’s career so far has turned him into a brand as much as a movie star – as with many action stars before him, his name has come to connote big, dumb action movies with OTT stunts and plots that are simply showcases for the action. It’s done him well and his name is often enough to sell the movie to mindless action fans, but it becomes a problem when he attempts to do something different. Hummingbird has come in for a bit of flack, not so much because of what it is but due to what it isn’t. Namely it isn’t a ‘Jason Statham’ movie. Indeed it has more in common with the arthouse than the likes of Crank.
The Stath is Joey, a former soldier tortured by what happened in Afghanistan and living rough on the streets while he attempts to avoid a military court martial. A chance meeting with a nun (Agata Buzec) and the unexpected opportunity to borrow someone’s identity gives Joey the chance to make changes in his life. He sets out to find justice for people who are within London’s underbelly, in an attempt to be a ‘good man’ – something he’s not sure he can ever be.
It’s an unexpectedly contemplative movie for Statham, which relies more on character drama than anything else – even if it is punctuated by moments of pretty intense violence. It takes you deep into the murky side of London, and while it sometimes goes a little too far, it’s surprisingly engrossing. Statham shows that he has talent as an actor, even if it’s unlikely he’ll be winning an Oscar anytime soon. The movie’s tone is less surprising when you realise it was directed by Steven Knight, who provided the screenplay for Eastern Promises – a movie which shares thematic links to Hummingbird.
It’ll be interesting to see whether Statham continues to try and find more varied projects, or if he’ll just go back to his usual action hijinks (he’s certainly not leaving it behind, as he’s currently Fast & Furious 7). He certainly shows here he can carry movies with depth than Crank.
Overall Verdict: More arthouse than ridiculous action, Jason Statham plays a quieter, more interesting character than we’re used to from him. Hummingbird may not be perfect, but it’s a pretty effective drama.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac