“Whatever you’re thinking, re-think it,” is the kind of derivative action hero one-liner that Sylvester Stallone cranks out so easily and Jason Statham delivers so assuredly in several movies, not excluding Homefront. The latest Stallone-penned action-drama stars this generation’s heir to genre’s throne—Jason Statham, and includes an impressive supporting cast, as well as a solid (if unoriginal) plot that is engaging and entertaining.
Based on the novel by Chuck Logan, Homefront tells the story of Phil Broken, a former DEA Agent who ditches meth-lab takedowns for raising his daughter Maddy (Izabela Vidovic) in the small Southern town that his late wife called home. But, when Maddy defends herself against a bully at school, her father sees first-hand the far-reaching consequences of old-school, Appalachian style feuding and must protect his daughter from both emerging threats and old ones that have come back to haunt him in unexpected ways.
There is no shortage of seedy, morally-bankrupt villains and criminals, but the centerpiece of depravity is Gator Bodine (James Franco), a small-time crystal meth manufacturer and dealer who reigns over his small backwoods community with tactics of intimidation. Winona Ryder plays his part-time girlfriend/business partner, and while they abandon their Southern accents pretty quickly, Franco and Ryder get the job done.
Kate Bosworth is very good as Gator’s junkie sister Cassie, and gives the most multifarious performance in the film. Izabela Vidovic conveys Maddy’s sensitivity and strength, with both believability and likeability. Jason Statham does what he does best, what must be second nature to him at this point. A lot of people will find his role, his performance and the entire film as very played-out, but a lot of people will love it because it is classic, go-to, vintage Jason Statham, and for those people he surely delivers on all fronts.
Stallone, who has written many of his most popular films, including Rocky, Rambo and The Expendables, adapts a solid story, with a plot that is not too rushed or too slow and contains plenty of cheer-worthy action scenes and quotable moments.
Directed by Gary Fleder (Runaway Jury, Kiss the Girls), Homefront is finely-paced and entertaining. This is not a film that will redefine it’s kind or blow your mind or make you think very hard. Homefront is predictable and conventional action-drama, but for some that just means it is reliable in providing easy, exciting and fun entertainment for 100 or so minutes.