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The Jason Statham Flop Defying Odds And Dominating Netflix

Tough guy Jason Statham has been playing the stoic action hero for a long time now, but there was a movie where he tried to peel back those layers to find something underneath the hard exterior. The 2013 British thriller Redemption (titled Hummingbird in the U.K.) toned down Statham's action hero persona to something more messy, but it didn't exactly perform well in the box office or with critics. Now, it's finding new life on Netflix, making its way to the Top Ten in Movies Today.

In Redemption, Statham plays Joey, an alcoholic, homeless veteran living in London who's haunted by something he did in Afghanistan. After a violent encounter, he finds himself in a photographer's temporarily vacated, high-end apartment and decides to stay there while he puts his life back together. He befriends (and romances) the nun Cristina (Agata Buzek), all the while looking for his missing friend Isabel (Victoria Bewick). Plus, he joins an organized crime syndicate and tries to make up for his past mistakes by charitably giving the money he makes. It's quite a dark movie — literally, as it was shot mostly at night — but despite many critics writing that it didn't live up to its potential, Netflix viewers are eating it up.

There's a lot going on here, and yet not so much actual redemption

Redemption was the directorial debut of its screenwriter Steven Knight, who's known for creating the series Peaky Blinders and penning the critically acclaimed Eastern Promises. Though it would be easy to pin the film's issues on his directing, critics wrote that the problems started with his script. Helen O'Hara of Empire wrote, "There are traces of brave and interesting ideas here, but ironically it's Knight's script that fails to tie them together and leaves the director and his cast struggling to pull a coherent story from the mess."

AV Club's Ignatiy Vishnevetsky felt the film could have pushed its theme of "redemption" further, arguing that Joey and Cristina's motivations were lacking. He wrote, "Considering that its two protagonists are a gangster and a nun, the movie is disappointingly unwilling to deal with larger spiritual and moral questions." With the film's title change from the U.K. to the U.S., it seems to have promised something it didn't exactly deliver.

Though this role was slightly different from his usual act, and Jason Statham did his best to show a new weight to his usual antihero, critics said that it didn't necessarily work. Deborah Ross wrote for The Spectator, "He is one of those actors who has a particular style, but that style does not include indicating any kind of interior life. So he can't bring us on side. Or make us feel for him."

Jason Statham may have found more success in the Marvel Cinematic Universe role he turned down, but now that he's a part of the Fast & Furious franchise and working on the Hobbs and Shaw sequel, he'll keep doing what he does best.