Hummingbird (UK - BD RB)
Marcus watches The Stath play the big screen version of the Littlest Hobo...
Hummingbird (AKA Redemption or Crazy Joe in other territories) has us following Royal Marine Joseph "Joey" Smith (Jason Statham) while he’s on the run from his duties. Living homeless in London, Joey gets into a fight and while escaping finds an apartment that’s empty for the duration of the summer that he can live in. Cleaning himself up and joining local the Chinese mob as a “driver” due to his brutal set of skills, Joey befriends local nun Sister Cristina (Agata Buzek) and their friendship begins to change both of their lives.
Hummingbird had been getting some solid reviews during its theatrical run so i was quite up for seeing the new Stath flick but this isn't a straight up Stath flick at all really. For a fair few movies now, this action star has played up the one liners, up’d the ante when it came to stunts and action packed moments but here he seems to have dropped about 80% of that and this more grown up, more level headed film actually felt quite rewarding by the end and not just the popcorn fun I usually have with The Stath.
Director Steven Knight’s tale actually manages to outreach the usual London based crime dramas and has a much more European flavour and is much more akin to something that could play to the world audience rather than just British blokes. Joey and Sister Cristina’s journey is very much a spiritual one and it feels more personal. That’s not to say this is a religious experience but Joey and Cristina’s path though this story is one that is forcing them to question their lives and question what the better version of themselves is.
On top of that there’s a well told bit of romance here. It’s born out of mutual respect and a sense of longing for something better and it never falls into gunfire and saving the girl because the action here is kept to an effective minimum and always plays as a separate part in Joey’s life. Speaking of the action, Stath really delivers the blows here. The fights are smaller and less showy than we’re used to from him but you feel every precisely laid blow and it really paints his character as a serious bad ass. Hey, sometimes less is more right?
I loved the sense of melancholy here, these lost souls only really functioning within the realms of the choices they've made and that romantic sense that they might actually save each other is played out to the bitter end. Sure Stath, still has a way to go to totally play a convincing dramatic lead but he does a really great job here and gives us a character that feels much more rounded than his usual scowl and growl action heroes. Hummingbird keeps a level head throughout and really manages to balance a whole lot of elements that many a thriller-drama often slip on and it really managed to keep me locked in to its story.
This is a super crisp, bright and stylised image. In fact with the neon lit back streets and a huge use of shadows, London hasn’t looked this good in film for a while. With interiors there's plenty of orange and teal and plenty of well placed glowing lighting making everyone glow in nice HD ways and with the sharpness of the image there's a nice bit of depth to it too.
In the well lit but still dark sets, textures and detail on faces are often fantastic. Grime, blood, dirt, wrinkles and stubble can feel almost touchable at times. Weirdly in amongst this pretty bright visuals I found the black levels a bit pale at times, often even hazy. It doesn't really detract from the wonderful depictions of London by night but they are noticeably off pure more often than not. Thankfully this rarely detracts from the great HD presentation here.
The bass levels are immediately delivered in the film's opening flashback as they rumble away and for most of the film these are kept as a subtle but effective element rather than an overpowering one. The busy London streets with their occasional eastern flavours utilize the surrounds well and deliver a well layered audio experience and the occasional but heavily gun play rattles the walls with its power. Dialogue is good and clear, despite Stath's mumbling, sound effects are natural sounding and this is a balanced, well controlled track that ticks all the modern audio boxes to good effect.
Sadly the ‘Making of’ (04:59 HD) is so short it barely even registers.
I’d probably put Hummingbird at the top of my Stath list of starring role movies. It feels so unlike most of his other almost cartoon actioners (that I’m not putting down – he does them well). The disc here looks fantastic, sounds fantastic and it's really only the blink and you’ll miss ‘em extras that let the release down.
NOTE: Chris noticed an encode error for the first six mins of the film, but he's notified Lionsgate. I'm sure he'll go into more detail in the comments below.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 21st October 2013
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English
Extras: Making Of
Easter Egg: No
Director: Steven Knight
Cast: Jason Statham, Agata Buzek, Christian Brassington, Vicky McClure
Genre: Action, Drama and Thriller
Length: 100 minutes
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