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Homefront

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The Stath plays ex-DEA agent Phil Broker, who when we first meet him, dons a Bad Wig Hall of Fame-worthy mullet for undercover work busting a Sons of Anarchy-esque biker gang / drug ring that ends in tragedy. 

 

Two years later, Broker is experiencing grief himself as a new widower. He and his 9-year-old tomboy daughter, Maddy (natural newcomer Izabela Vidovic), attempt to lay low in rural Louisiana — and do, until Maddy fights back after being bullied at school, which escalates into a feud that makes the Hatfields and McCoys look friendly. At the center of eruption is an emasculating methhead (Kate Bosworth, Black Rock) who orders her no-good drug-kingpin brother, Gator (James Franco, Spring Breakers), to do something about it. 

 

That "something" involves many exchanges of gunfire — action being the reason of such a movie's existence. Other than the name on its front page, there is nothing about Homefront's screenplay that is special enough to merit the project hanging around in development for so long, but it's good enough, and better than the utter indifference with which it was met by moviegoers. 

 

In the action genre, "good enough" is about all one can ask for, and Statham — whether cognizant of it or not — seems to specialize in settling for that, so the personality at the center has to be strong. Luckily for audiences, he is. Even when he's in bad movies, the incredibly likable Statham shines and makes things fun. Why else did his end-credit cameo in Fast & Furious 6 be met with cheers? 

 

Directed by Gary Fleder (The Express), Homefront is not bad — just average. Despite an appallingly miscast Winona Ryder as Gator's junkie co-conspirator, its chunky pieces click together to form a satisfying Friday-night rental.   —Rod Lott

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