Matt Pais, @mattpais
RedEye movie critic
June 27, 2013
*1/2 (out of four)
Like fractured pieces of three different mirrors, “Redemption” attempts to be a different kind of Jason Statham movie while still being a typical Jason Statham movie. In other words, it’s an often-somber character piece in which the hero periodically busts heads or threatens to kill someone with a spoon.
The burly and admittedly skilled Brit plays Joey, a dishonored military vet suffering from PTSD who goes from a life on the London streets to a life of style because, conveniently, the flat he breaks into contains a wealth of perfectly fitting suits and an owner who won’t return from New York for eight months. For a while, Joey guiltlessly uses the poor guy’s credit card but soon needs to find his own work. Since he’s killed before and possesses more skills with his hands than his noggin, he takes a job in the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant—which almost immediately leads to the Chinese mafia scooping up Joey as a hired goon.
And, really, “Hired Goon” could be the title of almost any Statham movie.
But wait: “Redemption” also contains Joey’s developing relationship with Cristina (Agata Buzek), a nun for whom he buys a dress he claims God will support wearing as long as she looks beautiful.(Sorry to those less-attractive nuns looking for a free pass from the big man or woman upstairs.) Their relationship is preposterously contrived, as is writer-director Steven Knight’s notion that Cristina changes Joey just because he eventually smiles once.
The film presents a clueless concept of trauma and its lasting effects and no proper development of Joey’s pursuit of the mysterious prostitute killer who offed his old pal. This supposedly justice-seeking violent angel should do more than—spoiler alert—ask a few questions and then eventually throw the guy off the roof after coincidentally spotting him at a party.
Evidently, redemption merely means cleaning up loose ends and never paying the consequences.
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