Homefront review

Gary Fleder
Jason Statham
James Franco
Kate Bosworth
Winona Ryder
Rated: R

Movie rednecks sure are scary.

Jason Statham is Phil Broker. Just your average single dad raising a young daughter out in a rural area. Oh, and he just happens to be a former DEA agent with knowledge of how to use powerful weapons, as well as having detective and martial arts skills. One average day, Broker’s daughter gets into a school ground fight with a boy who happens to be the nephew of a local criminal.

The criminal is called Gator, played by James Franco, who is trying to start a drug ring in the local community. At first, Gator just tries to scare Broker as a revenge tactic for his nephew and sister. However, the stakes are raised when Gator learns about Broker’s past as an agent with the DEA.

“Homefront” written by Sylvester Stallone doesn’t feel very original. All too often the movie falls into tropes of just being an average action flick. This is a problem because the pacing of the movie feels more like a suspense/thriller. The contrast in tone just makes the story-telling come off as sloppy. To make matters worse, the whole film is extremely predictable, it’s not tough to figure out what’s going to happen at the end.

There isn’t anything special in terms of acting here. Jason Statham is simply doing what he has done before. A quiet, whispering voice and a thousand yard stare, that’s about all that he does. It’s not that it feels phoned in, it just isn’t a very compelling performance.

On the other side of the spectrum, James Franco just seems to put on a southern accent.

His performance is really forgettable and he never comes across as really threatening or menacing. The rest of the cast isn’t memorable either. Kate Bosworth and Winona Ryder are both rather replaceable.

What really hurts the movie, though, is the poor action moments. Because of the slower pacing, it takes a long time to get to the actual major fight scenes, and they are shot and edited horribly. There are three examples of action moments that go wrong.

The first is a gunfight, where Statham is trying to defend his home from various intruders and a big gun battle ensues. The fight not only takes place at night, so it’s really dark, but the movie cuts so fast to each person shooting that you can’t tell what’s really going on. It’s difficult to tell who is shooting at what and where the bullets are going.

Similarly, the actual hand-to-hand combat, towards the end mainly, is also shot in the dark. There is a lack of lighting so you can barely make out who is throwing each punch. The best thing I can say about the action is the choreography, which is OK.

The third issue is with a chase scene. I’ve recently re-watched both “The Dark Knight” and “Drive.” Two movies that really show how to do great chase scenes that are engaging. The chase scene in this movie feels so stock like it was pulled from any other average action movie.

“Homefront” just doesn’t have anything memorable to hold it up. The story itself doesn’t feel all to original and can’t really find a balance between a fun action movie and a serious suspense film. The acting is poor and really forgettable. And the worst offender are the action sequences themselves, which are not just underwhelming, but poorly put together.

There’s just no real reason to watch this movie, it’s not worth the time. Someone would be better off watching another flick from Statham’s library because there are some fun ones that exist. 1 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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