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Homefront DVD review

Former drug enforcement officer Phil Broker (Jason Statham) moves to a quiet town with his young daughter Maddy (Izabela Vidovic), hoping to give her a better life. Their new and peaceful life is short-lived when Broker learns of the violence and corruptions of the town at the hands of local drug boss Gator (James Franco). Broker soon finds himself up against Gator and most of the townsfolk as he tries to bring peace to his life.

Homefront’s screenplay was developed by Sylvester Stallone (who also serves as executive producer) as being the next Rambo film. However, he realised that it needed a younger actor to take on the role of Broker. So he passed it on to his new film buddy Jason Statham to tackle the role. With all that in mind, it’s easy to see all the hallmarks of a Rambo film in Homefront. But where do you take a film that only has one outcome?

The main story is rather flimsy and is easily telegraphed as to where it is all leading to. Script and direction are geared towards moving from point A to Point B only, making it too rigid to get underneath any of the characters. On top of that, the action isn’t the greatest we have seen from Hollywood in recent years, but when The Stath gets moving the film picks up with adrenaline-fuelled fighting.

Statham continues to turn in decent performances and here he manages to do that with ease. He has started to show his more resilient acting side these days, and whilst his emotional range isn’t that wide he still conveys a man helping his daughter with respectable results. But we were always waiting for him to unload his trademark fist & foot combos.

Whilst Jason keeps the film rolling along, sadly that cannot be said for the rest of the cast. Winona Ryder is badly miscast and manages to shout and screech her way through every line she has to deliver. Clancy Brown barely gets a look in and is relegated to only a couple of scenes. Kate Bosworth looks completely different and clearly relished getting to dress-down, but she is hampered by a one dimensional character that succumbs to all clichéd drug addict moments.

James Franco’s drug boss is a little too quaint and hammy to realistically expect him to have all this power over everybody. Franco’s inability to be let off the chain is down to a clichéd script that gives no movement for anything that could give a devilish whirl on the bad guy. Considering his amazing bad guy turn in Spring Breakers last year, we really wanted more.

Homefront struggles with a cliché-ridden action script and some stilted direction that never allows the film to flow freely. Statham manages to keep the film an enjoyable popcorn action thriller flick, but this is merely treading water in that genre and doesn’t offer anything we haven’t seen before.

Mark Searby
Mark Searby
Film critic for BBC Local Radio. Author of Al Pacino: The Movies Behind The Man. Addict of The Wire. Long-suffering supporter of NFFC.

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