Review – Homefront

The script may be expendable, but Jason Statham does what he does best in this enjoyably old school action flick written by Sylvester Stallone.

Homefront is hardly groundbreaking stuff, but it gets the job done and offers up another star vehicle for Mr Chrome Dome

Homefront is hardly groundbreaking stuff, but it gets the job done and offers up another star vehicle for Mr Chrome Dome

Following the touchy-feely Hummingbird (aka Redemption), The Stath is back on more familiar ground with his third film of the year.

Phil Broker (Jason Statham) enjoys some quality time with daughter Maddy (Izabela Vidovic) in Homefront

Phil Broker (Jason Statham) enjoys some quality time with daughter Maddy (Izabela Vidovic) in Homefront

Since breaking out as a leading man in 2002’s The Transporter, Statham has methodically turned himself into a bankable action man. It speaks to his star wattage that his movies have attracted increasingly big name casts, whether it’s opposite Robert De Niro and Clive Owen in Killer Elite or Jennifer Lopez in Parker earlier this year.

Slumming it they may be, but Homefront co-stars James Franco, Winona Ryder and a barely recognisable Kate Bosworth nevertheless add an extra touch of class to proceedings.

Drug kingpin Gator (James Franco) and his white trash sister Cassie (Kate Bosworth) in Homefront

Drug kingpin Gator (James Franco) and his white trash sister Cassie (Kate Bosworth) in Homefront

Statham plays Phil Broker, who retired as a DEA agent after helping to take down a notorious biker gang. He retreats to a seemingly sleepy Louisiana town with his young daughter Maddy (Izabela Vidovic) but, following a series of improbable coincides, finds his past catching up with him after getting on the wrong side of a bunch of redneck meth dealers led by Gator (Franco).

Despite receiving a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination all those years ago for Rocky, Stallone’s range as a scriptwriter is relatively limited. The premise of Homefront is pretty basic, but Sly at least injects Gator and his trailer trash sister Cassie (Bosworth) with a more interesting human dimension than we’re used to seeing in these kinds of flicks. That said, you’d be hard pushed to remember/care about any of the dialogue.

Phil Broker (Jason Statham) confronts Gator (James Franco) and girlfriend Cheryl (Winona Ryder) in Homefront

Phil Broker (Jason Statham) confronts Gator (James Franco) and girlfriend Cheryl (Winona Ryder) in Homefront

Imagine that Alien from Spring Breakers had a brother and you’d be pretty close to nailing Franco’s Gator. Using that same crooked smile (minus the gold teeth), sleazy demeanour and southern drawl, Franco may not inhabit the part as thoroughly as he did the drug-dealing Alien, but it’s a fun performance and you half expect him to say “look at my shit” when he’s showing white trash lover Cheryl (Ryder, looking out-of-place) around his meth lab.

Jason Statham doing what he does best in Homefront

Jason Statham doing what he does best in Homefront

Director Gary Fleder goes through the motions somewhat, using warm colours and clunky pianos in the scenes between Broker and his loving daughter, while – surprise surprise – juxtaposing this a desaturated look for the scenes involving the cold-hearted bikers who ride into turn seeking vengeance.

Although the interplay between Statham and Vidovic is nicely judged by both actors, the film inevitably lives or dies on its action scenes and it’s here the film doesn’t disappoint. In The Stath’s reliable hands, the moments of ass-kicking are explosively handled, in particular the bullet-tastic showdown between Broker and the bikers.

Homefront is hardly groundbreaking stuff, but it gets the job done and offers up another star vehicle for Mr Chrome Dome.

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15 comments

  1. Tom · December 11, 2013

    Phew!!! *wipes some sweat off the brow after reading your positive intro statement.* now, to get back to the rest of the review (which I’m sure is about to be great.) šŸ™‚

    • Tom · December 11, 2013

      . . .and I confirm that. This is a great review buddy, you’ve restored my interest in seeing this film. I might even catch it in theaters before it squeaks out the back door. Plus, you’ve added another inspired choice for my Best Male Lead Performances list I’ll be compiling later this month — how could I have forgotten about James Franco’s “Alien?” What a blast that guy was!

      • Three Rows Back · December 11, 2013

        Phew! Franco is inspired in Spring Breakers. His “look at my shit” speech is probably my scene of the year.

      • Tom · December 11, 2013

        Yeah, probably same goes for me. It’s great.

  2. Terry Malloy's Pigeon Coop · December 11, 2013

    Nicely done Mark. Seems like a good one to just switch off to but not gonna set the world alight.

    • Three Rows Back · December 11, 2013

      Appreciate that Chris. I have a lot of time for The Stath, so am a bit of an apologist. That said, it’s good enough fun.

  3. ZoĆ« · December 11, 2013

    Nice review man! Nothing too in depth or anything, but something that can be watched in between things. I might just look into this at some point.

    • Three Rows Back · December 11, 2013

      Make sure you do! It makes a diverting enough couple of hours.

  4. CMrok93 · December 11, 2013

    Good review Mark. It’s very dumb and very over-the-top at times, however, it could have easily been more crazy than it already was. Definitely would have made it more enjoyable, too.

    • Three Rows Back · December 11, 2013

      Thanks Dan. It did rather play it safe at times, unlike Crank for instance. Now that’s crazy!

  5. Lights Camera Reaction · December 19, 2013

    Poor Ryder, she deserves better than this.

    • Three Rows Back · December 19, 2013

      I certainly can’t disagree that she gets a rough deal here. About 10 seconds after first appearing on screen she’s seen being roughly taken from behind by Franco’s character. Not enormously respectful.

  6. Victor De Leon · November 21, 2014

    Just added this to my netflix queue the other night. Glad it doesn’t sound like a total loss. Thanks again!

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