Posts Tagged ‘Redemption’

Trejo My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood

Danny Trejo is the most dangerous man in the history of cinema. He is the real deal. He is a face biter, neck stabber, and armed robber; he is a drug dealer, drunk, and survivor of the most dangerous prisons in America. He should be dead many times over. But God had other plans.

Miracles happen, the story of Danny Trejo is proof of that. As is the way with such biographies the story starts early. But Trejo’s up bringing was more fraught than most. His entire family were career criminals. Drug dealing from aged seven, he had his first shot of heroin age 12 [courtesy of his uncle]. Drugs, booze, and wild bouts of violence, car theft, holding up liquor stores when he was still a teen, it is little wonder he was in San Quentin by the time he was twenty. And what a horror show that was—fights, stabbings, death and insanity a constant shadow. It was here that Trejo saw his darkest hour and turned his life in a direction that was truly remarkable.

Many will have witnessed Trejo’s rise through the Hollywood talent grinder. He has starred in, and appeared in, literally hundreds of movies and television shows, until his battle-scarred countenance has become a cultural icon. Trejo is much more than a bad guys bad guy, he has become a true legend.

But Danny Trejo is much more than that. His time as a street gangster was abruptly curtailed when God reached out to him in the deepest seediest cell in San Quentin and showed him another path. A path of sobriety and recovery, and a dedication to helping others that few cinema goers, or gang-banging fight fans may know of. This part of his life—a world of meetings and talks and direct action to help substance abusers is by far the major part of his life. The business of recovery and helping others is a redemptive task he has dedicated more than fifty years to. Sure, he had other struggles too, family struggles, a battle against liver cancer, a double cerebral aneurism, and a painful battle against hepatitis that could have killed him. But Danny Trejo is one tough cat. He is still going at the hard to believe age of 77. 

He also has seven dogs and a thriving taco business. Matter of fact there is a lot about the guy you don’t know yet. Crimezine recommends you rush out and buy Trejo, My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood. Do it now, you will be glad you did.


Crimezine favorite Jason Statham comes face to face with the ugly truth in Redemption

Redemption marks the directorial debut of Steven Knight, the screenwriter of David Cronenberg’s acclaimed crime thriller Eastern Promises. And as with many directorial debuts, this cockneyfied crime caper suffers in a number of key areas, namely a sketchy narrative and an over yearning need for moralistic vindication.

Statham stars as Afghan veteran Joey Jones, who’s posttraumatic stress leads to hallucinatory flashbacks and chronic bouts of alcoholism, in the seedy netherworld of Neo Dickensian London. Which makes for grim viewing at best, but that is by no means the end of the problem. Yes, there is some awesome cinematography here; yes the soundtrack by Dario Marianelli rocks worlds, but in the milieu of modern crime this movie simply doesn’t provide enough to truly satisfy.

So what of the story? Well, after an ugly street fight, in which his girlfriend goes missing, Joey the homeless drunken lout breaks into the up market home of a wealthy photographer and promptly makes a pauper to prince transformation that turns heads. Including the habit covered noggin of an emaciated soup kitchen nun, Sister Christina (Agata Buzek) who—surprise, surprise, has a whole closet full of rattling skeletons her self. The stick thin sister and bad man Joey indulge in a rather halfhearted flingette, whilst our hero makes a no less half hearted search for his missing girlfriend—Let’s hope she’s not been kidnapped, by whore-mongering human traffickers eh, Crimeziners… Zzzzz.

But just as things look like they are turning around for Joey, in his palatial new pad, wouldn’t you know it, his whole world comes crashing down around him. Inevitable really, as there are so many narrative plates spinning at this point, things just have to end badly—homelessness, prostitution, the Chinese mob, even a money-strapped ex wife and wide eyed “daughter I never knew” thrown in for good measure.

Naturally, Crimezine favorite Statham gets to brutalize heads and snap arms along the way, but there is a total absence of charm in this movie—the kind of charm that has made our Jase into the Hollywood box office hero he is today. There always comes a point in any actor’s career when they become so successful that they think they can take on more “serious, thoughtful” roles. No doubt Statham and his undoubted charisma will achieve this in the future. Unfortunately, Redemption is not and never was the vehicle to make that happen.

Crimezine advises catch Redemption on cable with a cuppa char. There is enough barftastic boozing in this movie to turn even Raymond Chandler sober.