Action star Jason Statham has his cake and gets to eat it, too, in Steven Knight’s Redemption. He gets to play his usual potentially lethal killing machine while also enacting a more nuanced character part that allows him to stretch both his physical and thespic muscles. Having written gritty thrillers in previous years, Knight now gets to write and direct turning in an above average performance in both capacities with a tale that mixes kinetic action scenes with more tender moments for its star.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Run Time: 1 Hr. 40 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, UltraVioletkeep case in a slipcover
Disc Type: BD25 (single layer)
Release Date: 09/24/2013
Having gone AWOL from the service after a horrific incident in the Afghanistan War, damaged vet Joey Jones (Jason Statham) has been living among the homeless in the streets and alleys of London. Usually in a drunken stupor, Joey gets so roughed up that he seeks medicine from sister of mercy Cristina (Agata Buzek), a nun who has befriended him and his fellow street people in the past. Joey stumbles into the vacant apartment of an actor spending nine months in America, so he squats in his lavish home wearing his clothes, using his car, and helping himself to his bank account while he sobers up. Once he gets himself straightened out, he takes the only job he knows, becoming an enforcer for the Chinese mob, and he’s so successful that he’s soon rolling in cash, enough to treat the homeless to lavish meals and to give Sister Cristina gifts to repay her kindness. He strikes up an emotional bond with the nun who’s wavering rather unsteadily in keeping her vows of chastity, but Joey is more concerned in finding the name of the street thug who used, abused, and then murdered one of his beloved homeless friends.
The Production Rating: 3.5/5
Writer-director Steven Knight’s major tenet for Joey’s personality is that drunk he’s a pussycat but sober he’s a murderous animal, but time and again, we see that’s actually not the case. He shows quite a bit of tenderness with the nun, with his long-abandoned daughter, and with his street cronies all the time he’s sober (a coda also informs us of other righteous things he does after the events in the movie are concluded), so there’s actually nothing preventing Joey from leading an upstanding, beneficial existence except his own desire to use his combat skills for the mob. For the star’s fans who love to see him kick around ornery types who deserve a beat down, there are several of those scenes in the film where groups of guys of all shapes and sizes get their comeuppance from the flinty fighter. Less enjoyable are the scenes picturing the growing attraction between the nun and her benefactor. The ending scene between the two of them is reasonably ludicrous (Joey stretched out and passed out on the street and partially in the gutter just outside the spot where Cristina is seeing a long admired ballerina give her farewell performance). Again, that’s the writer being a slave to his faulty premise instead of writing something a bit more sensible as a farewell between the two of them (after all, by that point in the story, Joey is being hunted by the London police for his climactic actions in the film and would hardly want to pass out on a major street if he wants to get away).
The script does allow Jason Statham the chance to exercise his dramatic muscles even more than his physical ones this time out, and he’s most effective showing compassion to those he loves as well as ruthlessness to the ones who get on his bad side. Agata Buzek is all right as Sister Cristina although we don’t see much of a moral struggle within her as her care and concern for Joey turn into feelings of a more erotic nature. Vicky McClure has a couple of successful scenes as Joey’s abandoned spouse, and Ger Ryan shows similar strength as the convent’s Mother Superior. Christian Brassington has a couple of horrifically violent scenes as the thug who gets off on abusing women.
The film is framed at its theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and is presented in a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. At its best, the images are sharp and clear with excellent contrast aiding in lots of vivid detail in facial features and clothes. But scenes shot in low contrast situations produce a notably weaker image with reduced detail and clarity. Flesh tones are natural throughout, but black levels are only so-so. The film has been divided into 16 chapters.
Video Rating: 4/5 3D Rating: NA
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix is a somewhat frustrating assortment of superb and banal. The film begins with scenes in Afghanistan as noisy chaos surrounds the listener: street sounds, screams, bombs dropping and exploding, and gunfire all around. Later scenes set in London sometimes seem a little less effective in terms of ambience. When it’s active, the split sound effects keep the soundfield alive and vital, but there are some lost opportunities here. Dario Marianelli’s mournful music gets an excellent spread through the entire soundstage. The dialogue has been nicely recorded and has been placed in the center channel.
Audio Rating: 4.5/5
Redemption Behind the Scenes (4:59, HD): a brief EPK featurette with writer-director Steven Knight, producer Paul Webster, and stars Jason Statham and Agata Buzek telling the gist of the film’s story.
Special Features Rating: 1/5
Promo Trailers (HD): Mud, The Bank Job, and Safe.
Ultraviolet: code enclosed
A reasonably enjoyable thriller which gives a bit more character introspection than the typical Jason Statham action film usually does, Redemption will make for a decent night’s rental entertainment for fans of the star or lovers of heavily modified action films.
Overall Rating: 3/5
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
Support HTF when you buy this title: