Ex-DEA agent Phil Broker (Jason Statham) is the new guy in a small Louisiana town. Unfortunately for him the townsfolk don’t take too kindly to strangers and Broker finds himself on their bad side, especially after his daughter takes down a school bully who just so happens to be the son of an emaciated meth addict Sheryl (Kate Bosworth). Broker steps into even more trouble when he proves to be the numero uno in ass whipping any naysayers that step in his face. Paranoid and bitter, Sheryl enlists the help of her psychopathic meth dealing brother “Gator” (James Franco) to scare Broker out of town. But, when Gator stumbles onto Broker’s past, including a drug pin he’s responsible for killing, Broker must do everything he can to stand his ground and fight to protect himself and his daughter.
Homefront is your typical Jason Statham vehicle, so if you enjoy seeing Statham kick faces into a bloody pulp or hearing the sound of bones breaking upon impact then come on down, you’re the next audience member to shell out too much money for a ticket. Despite its ability to lack originality, Homefront’s safety zone just might be it’s strongest element. While it’s not a phenomenal or even impressive film, it is what it is, which makes for an all around mostly entertaining time. Much of Homefront’s excitement is the result of the stellar performances from the likes of Kate Bosworth as Sheryl, an annoying drugged-out human version of a Chihuahua. Pale, skinny, and shivering, complete with a head of straggly straw to match, Bosworth is perfectly irritating as she barks out orders and obscenities to her tame, doofus husband and everyone else.
But Homefront’s most remarkable aspect is editor Padraic McKinely’s impressive transitions that jolt viewers with a disorienting, rapid cut view of the future that ultimately transports us to the next scene, almost like a lapsed memory being recalled.
Sadly, these impressive moments are short lived, taking place only a handful of times. For the rest of the film I was disappointed by sloppy hyperactive edits that made fight scenes almost nauseating and hard to focus on. Homefront’s action scenes are filmed from multiple angles, leading director Gary Fleder to assume that every nanosecond should consist of a different angle to make sure you see every aspect of Statham kicking major ass. This poor decision, however, makes entire fight sequences too jittery to focus on. Whatever happened to the simple fight sequences of yesteryear?
James Franco as a menacing, knee-busting sociopath while Statham plays a mild-mannered father just feels like a Freaky Friday moment. Although both actors delivered their bland lines and inconsistent motivations the best they could, it’s just not good enough to make it work. I once thought Jason Statham was a pretty credible actor based on his parts in Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. Yet, for years and throughout the entire time I watched Homefront, I kept wondering why doesn’t he show that same range of emotion he used to years ago in films?
Homefront reminded me that it’s because Statham continually accepts roles in which he’s nothing more than a man with a great physique and even greater punch. Broker is far from an eloquent speaker. Sure, he has a few moments where he actually speaks two whole sentences, but you begin to notice that all the other characters are donned with paragraphs of constant conversation while Broker answers questions with one or two words before using his fists to end a conversation.
Much like this dude.
The lack of believable motivation and situations in Homefront lies on the shoulders of Sylvester Stallone. That’s right; The Italian Stallion himself is responsible for the muddy, saturated mess of a script that pits Statham in the right place and the right moment every single time to save his daughter. Stallone’s script is the reason a building gets blown up all because a light is turned on. It’s the reason Franco’s character does a complete 180 by shooting a pivotal character, despite showing nothing but heart and devotion early on. It’s the reason you never fear for Statham’s life because everything works out like a well-controlled watch with all the pieces perfectly in line to deliver a happy ending.
I just asked you about your thoughts ice cream, not about Healthcare Reform… nothing huh?
Homefront is two-hours long, a problem that could have easily been fixed with a shave of half an hour to prevent the inevitable eye wandering and phone checks that takes place when watching. Homefront is entertaining enough to not make you regret the money you spent on it, however, not enough to keep you engaged throughout the entire film. All of the characters are pretty exasperating and by the end I couldn’t really careless who lived or died.
There are worse movies you can be seeing this holiday week and by the look at the Box Office Homefront might be your best bet, especially if you don’t mind a film from either Franco or Statham. I wouldn’t expect a mind blowing action film or even a marginally good one. But if you keep your expectations low and a couple of beers in tow, then Homefront won’t disappoint–too much.
Take a Drink: every time Maddy asks “Dad, are you ok?” or “Dad, what’s going on?”
Take a Drink: every time someone smokes or is giving meth.
Take a Drink: every time you are reminded (and laugh) at Broker’s former hair.
Take a Drink: every time someone mentions Broker’s dead wife.
Do a Shot: whenever Broker speaks more than two sentences at a time.