It’s far from a bad movie; it’s just a bit of a diluted movie
Hummingbird Blu-ray ReviewYou can’t win, can you? You single-handedly succeed all of the Stallones, Schwarzeneggers, Snipes’s and Seagals of this world to basically become the last remaining bona fide b-movie action star of your generation who still provides adult violence in a PG-13-neutered universe, and yet nobody takes you seriously as anything other than entertaining-but-mindless muscle. Any outright attempts to expand beyond your action sphere are largely unsuccessful, and so you attempt to merely stretch that sphere, adding dramatic weight to marry up to your usual quota of action satisfaction. But even that doesn’t work. Half your viewing audience wonder why the drama isn’t better considered, the characters aren’t better developed, and the acting is so stilted, whilst the other half – your core action audience – wonder why you’re holding back in your speciality department. Statham can’t win.
Hummingbird Blu-ray Picture QualityFirst the bad news. Lionsgate appear to have messed up the first 5 minutes and 54 seconds of the transfer. Although it might take a while to notice – predominantly because the first few minutes includes plenty of news footage clips – there’s something not right about the image at the beginning. Look carefully and you’ll find two thin grey strips that separate the 2.4:1 image from the black bands which frame it at the top and the bottom. These tiny strips should never be visible – they should be as black as the bands at the top and the bottom. Here, they are not, and it’s because the black levels in the first 6 minutes of the film are completely wrong. Basically whenever you’re supposed to see black on screen – and it’s prevalent because, after the new footage, we dip into night-time London for the opening scene – instead you just see a washed-out dark grey. Now this kind of error, despite being pretty serious, can be swallowed without affecting your viewing pleasure too much – it runs alongside the credits and, as soon as the credits are done, the picture goes back to normal – but it’s almost unforgivable when you realise that Lionsgate knew about it before the discs went to final pressings and still elected not to correct it.Once the 6 minutes are over, things return to an otherwise very good video presentation that probably, in its own right, would have earned the image 8 or 9 out of 10. Hummingbird is given a 1080p/AVC encoded High Definition video presentation in the movie’s original aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen. Shot digitally, and predominantly at night, the image has some wonderfully inky blacks (ironically) which set the backdrop for the action and drama. Detail is excellent throughout, in spite of the prevalent shadows and encroaching darkness, there’s simply no loss of shadow detail and nothing gets swallowed up in the darkness. Skin detail, clothing weaves and background texture are all excellent, with strong contrast and no signs of any digital defects, abhorrent edge enhancement, or unruly excess DNR application. The colour scheme is vibrant and rich without being too stylised, adopting the glossy London look, and overall this is an excellent video presentation unforgivably marred by the opening issues.
Hummingbird Blu-ray Sound QualityThankfully the accompanying DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track is just much more impressive, with no reservations. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently throughout, largely dominating the fronts and centre channels where appropriate. Effects are myriad, varying between the PSTD flashback sequences that offer up hefty explosions, and thunderous gunshots, to the bustling London streets, with the crowds and car noises, drawing the LFE channel in wherever appropriate. The score perfectly suits the piece, and the track provides a welcome immersive accompaniment, fluctuating happily between the more boisterous elements and the more nuanced atmospherics.
Hummingbird Blu-ray ExtrasJust a single, disappointingly short Making-of Featurette with brief cast and crew snippets but nothing really substantial at all.
Is Hummingbird Blu-ray Worth BuyingHummingbird – renamed Redemption in the States – falls into that problematic middle category of being incapable of fully delivering the goods on either the action or drama front, and therefore remaining unremarkable in both spheres. It’s a tribute to Jason Statham that he doesn’t stop trying to expand his scope, but his efforts don’t always yield results and here, despite his commendable commitment to the more dramatic nuances required by the part, you’ll just be biding your time waiting for the inevitable explosion of martial arts fury. It’s far from a bad movie; it’s just a bit of a diluted movie.
On Region B-locked UK Blu-ray, the audio is very good and the single extra Featurette is identical to the US package but the video could be a major bone of contention amidst fans – the first 6 minutes have substantial problems, defects which should have been rectified before the discs were shipped, particularly since the Studios were, by all accounts, aware of the problems some time ago. It really is unforgivable. If you can somehow swallow it, you might find that it doesn’t majorly ruin your enjoyment of the movie.
If you like Statham, enjoy his movies, and are open to something a little different, then Hummingbird is certainly that. Just don’t expect his usual wall-to-wall action, nor expect any heavyweight acting to fill in the gaps between the here-sporadic action. Just expect something different.
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