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Redemption (Blu-ray Review)

Redemption - www.whysoblu.comJason Statham stars as an ex-Special Forces officer who comes home from the Afghan war a shattered man. Broke, homeless, lost in a haze of drugs and booze, Joseph Smith attempts to piece his life back together with the help of Sister Christina, a nun helping the poor. But while employed as a collector for a local mob boss, Joseph learns the identity of a friend’s murderer and, bent on revenge, finds himself sinking deeper into a dark world of violence in this brutally powerful action-thriller.  Redemption is written and directed by Steven Knight, which marks his feature film directing debut. Knight also wrote Eastern Promises. 

Redemption - www.whysoblu.com

Film  

Redemption is Jason Stathams latest romp where he plays a British ex-special forces soldier who has gone AWOL after committing atrocities during his stint in Afghanistan. “Joey” (Statham) is now an alcoholic and drug addict living on the streets of London. During a routine shake down Joey and his friend are harassed and beaten by some enforcers that were looking to score some rocks and dough from those sleeping in the alleys.

After a brief escape Joey literally falls into a rich man’s flat and assumes his identity until he can figure out what to do next. A freshly clean and not-quite-sober takes to Sister Cristina (Agata Buzek) at the local homeless shelter. She was always nice to him and to those who were in need and now Joey has come to say thanks by being the shelter’s “guardian angel.”

Things take a turn for the worse when one of Joey’s friends from the street is murdered by someone of wealth and power. Joey then becomes a collector for the local mob boss so as to find out who murdered his friend. In addition to all of this, Joey also has an ex-wife and young daughter that he has not seen for several years. Yes, there are several plot points that we have to navigate through but the magic part of it all is that they flow seamlessly. It’s not a jumbled mess of a film and it’s less than two hours. How can you not take this journey?

I was absolutely floored by Redemption. I had seen it on VOD a couple of months before and told all of my friends about it – basically saying that Jason Statham “does acting” in this film. Seriously, I only watch Jason Statham films to see the guy kick ass. In Redemption, he kicks ass and acts his ass off. Convincingly. Outside of his usual action romp fare The Bank Job would have been his other role where he delivers a good performance strictly in the acting category. Redemption trumps all of that.

Agata Buzek as Sister Cristina is also not as fragile as she seems and delivers a great performance, as well. They own the film. Also, just to be a bit more clear, Redemption does have spots of very intense violence, but it is NOT a traditional Statham film. I have seen the trailer and they have to market it as a traditional “action romp.” Forget at all that. It’s a story-driven film with bursts of violence here and there. FYI.

I guess there really isn’t anymore praise I can heap upon Redemption, so I’ll just say that it will be on my top-10 list of the best films of 2013. Yes, it’s that good!

Redemption - www.whysoblu.com

Video  

Redemption is presented in 1080p, 2.40:1 (16X9) widescreen. Even the bad parts of London look terrific. The good parts of London and that night time skyline have never looked better. Crush is absent, color separation and depth are spot on. Flesh tones are exquisite and never come of as pasty or undefined. The grimy undercurrent on the shady side of town is really brought to life by the strength of the transfer. There is nothing to redeem here – Redemption looks great on Blu-ray!

Redemption - www.whysoblu.com

Audio  

Redemption is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. a most appropriate compliment to the video presentation is the accompaniment of this amazing soundtrack. Dialogue is clean and clear – even the most hushed snippets of dialogue can be heard nice and clear. When we get bursts of action they’re handled very well by the speakers and the sense of depth the surround channels bring make seem that you are right there dodging bullets and punches. We also have several flashbacks that are aided by the dynamic sound mix. Redemption’s lossless soundtrack apologizes for nothing.

Redemption - www.whysoblu.com

Extras 

Such a terrific movie gets a raw deal on the extras. We have ONE stinking featurette that is the usual talking head stuff. I guess a director’s commentary is asking too much these days, huh.

 

  • Redemption: Behind the Scenes

 

Redemption - www.whysoblu.com

Summary 

Color me shocked and awed by Redemption. It’s a very gritty tale that has a most appropriate title. I can see how the original title of Hummingbird would have been a bit distracting even though it was a metaphor. The new title really drives the message home and makes for a great segue into the material. The video and audio presentations are near-reference in quality but the lack of extras will drive the overall score down. Redemption is a great character study and I was blown away by Jason Statham’s performance. Give it a whirl.

 

 

 

Order Redemption on Blu-ray!

Redemption - www.whysoblu.com

 

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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