Hummingbird ★★½

Not exactly your typical action flick starring Jason Statham, Hummingbird is an ambitious movie that tries to offer both style and substance, neglecting entertainment as a result. Written and directed by Steven Knight, the man behind the script for Eastern Promises, Hummingbird's weakness can be found in the writing department (of all places even though Knight has proved his talent before) and in its translation to the screen. There are themes of faith, its place in a cruel world of long lost innocence replete with corruption where living is either a way of making profit or a constant struggle for survival, while war and abuse break the spirit and toss it on the streets. There's substance, but it's very bluntly expressed through stock characters, as Statham plays a war veteran who went AWOL and ends up living as a hobo, only to then break into a rich man's empty apartment and start fresh, providing a contrast between the two social groups, the wealthy and the outcast. He quickly gets back on his feet and begins working for the Chinese mafia, without forgetting the homeless with whom he used to share the fire. Throw in friend Sister Cristina, a Polish nun who was sexually abused in her youth and you get a clear but jarring picture of how well substance is conveyed. There's style, the film takes place in night-time neon-lit... London, where crime works double shifts. The pacing is slow, the tone is brooding and grave and the film takes itself very seriously, which requires a subtler Statham and demands more from him as an actor. He's given quieter moments and scenes to show his acting skills, including a scene involving crying, all of which he doesn't quite pull off as well as needed but it shows him in a state he's not often found in. He still gets to kick ass but not nearly as much as we've come to expect, the film's different tone not allowing too much action. Hummingbird is not quite pop-corn entertainment; instead it's a movie sharing characteristics with that category but disguised as a serious action drama that fails to elevate itself to its desired place.

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