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Platform(s): Movie
Genre: Action
Publisher: Open Road Films
Release Date: Nov. 27, 2013

About Judy

As WP's managing editor, I edit review and preview articles, attempt to keep up with the frantic pace of Rainier's news posts, and keep our reviewers on deadline, which is akin to herding cats. When I have a moment to myself and don't have my nose in a book, I like to play action/RPG, adventure and platforming games.


Movie Review - 'Homefront'

by Judy on Nov. 28, 2013 @ 2:00 a.m. PST

In Homefront, a widowed ex-DEA agent retires to a small town with his 10-year-old daughter. He picked the wrong town.

There's another Jason Statham movie out — and that is "Homefront" in a nutshell.  Of course, this time, he's an ex-Interpol agent who worked with the Drug Enforcement Agency, and this time, he's a widower with a 10-year-old daughter.  "Homefront" still follows the formula of Statham films, meaning he kills a lot of bad guys to save the day, and he does it with flair.

Statham is Phil Broker, an undercover agent who has infiltrated a biker gang that specializes in meth production and trafficking.  The drug bust doesn't go as planned, and downtown Shreveport, Louisiana, erupts in a hail of gunfire and a laboratory explosion. Tommy T (Chuck Zito), head of the biker gang, is sent to jail but not before he finds out that Broker is with the DEA.  He holds a bit of a grudge.

Broker retires to the sleepy town of Rayville, Louisiana, with his daughter, Maddy (Izabela Vidovic).  In the time since the arrest, he has lost his wife, and he just wants to lead a quiet life and be a good father.  

Maddy is a chip off the old block and is detained at school for standing up for herself and punching a bully.  The bully's mom, Cassie Bodine (Kate Bosworth), takes this as a personal affront and asks her brother, Gator Bodine (James Franco), to scare the Broker family.  Oh, and Gator also makes meth, so he knows a gal who knows a guy who can tell Tommy T about Broker's whereabouts.  It's a small world … when you stay in the same state.

The script was penned by Sylvester Stallone, who is apparently a better writer than he is an actor.  He also wrote the script for some of his better work, including "Cliffhanger," "Rambo: First Blood" and "Rocky."  Stallone had originally intended to star in this film, but the movie gods had mercy on us and Statham was cast instead. 

Since the movie is clearly intended as a testosterone-fest, there is a major omission of the requisite shirtless scene (sorry, ladies!), and his touchy-feely moment with a potential love interest (Rachelle Lefevre) involves chatting and smiling. Clearly, he can't waste time on this love business when there are still asses to kick and names to take.

Statham is wearing flannel instead of a dapper suit during the action sequences, but the result is the same:  The bad guys never know what hit them.  The fights aren't as visceral as they were in "Olympus Has Fallen," but they do look pretty painful — for the bad guys.  Statham does a great job of ridding the town of bad guys, but he's less comfortable with actually acting.  His paternal scenes with Vidovic are almost believable, but she's clearly the one in the driver's seat.  You won't want to miss the beginning of the movie, where he dons a scraggly wig to blend in with the biker gang.  It's comedy gold and deserves its own meme.

Franco plays another version of his smug self, though this time, there's a creepy crazy vibe to it.  He does it with great aplomb at some points but seems bored with it at other times.

Bosworth is the biggest surprise of the film.  Given her insipid stint as Lois Lane in "Superman Returns," I expected more of the same, but she is stunning as a crazy meth-addled addict.  Sadly, I can't tell if she lost weight for the role or if her jutting hipbones are just part of her usual emaciated figure.

The biggest reason for watching this film — aside from Statham, that is — is to see Statham wipe the smug grin off Franco's face.  Mission accomplished, but this could've been drawn out some more because the final showdown doesn't last very long.

There's something that's difficult to quantify with "Homefront."  On the one hand, the film was better than expected, as evidenced by the excited applause at the end of the screening.  At the same time, there's a twinge of, "Was that it?" because there's a sense that the movie could've been excellent if it weren't missing something to set it apart from the sea of action movies.

"Homefront" is a straightforward action movie.  There aren't any plot twists, and it doesn't add to the genre.  It's Statham doing what he does best, minus all that frilly girly stuff.  If you've wondered what "The Transporter" or "Crank" would've been like in flannel and blue jeans, "Homefront" is the answer.

Score: 7.0/10

"Homefront" is rated R and has a running time of 1 hour and 40 minutes. It is showing in 2-D.

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