Saturday 27 February 2021

Movie Review: Homefront (2013)

A basic action drama about an ex-government agent tangling with small-town drug pushers, Homefront brawls through predictably satisfactory territory. 

In a messy operation, New Orleans-based Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) undercover officer Phil Broker (Jason Statham) disrupts the methamphetamine lab of gangster Danny T (Chuck Zito). Disillusioned with unnecessary bloodshed, Phil retires to the small rural Louisiana town of Rayville to raise his young daughter Maddy (Izabela Vidovic) in peace.

Maddy tangles with the school bully, and Broker humiliates the bully's parents Cassie and Jimmy Klum (Kate Bosworth and Marcus Hester). Cassie turns to her brother and local meth manufacturer "Gator" Bodine (James Franco) to settle scores. Gator and his girlfriend Sheryl Marie (Winona Ryder) uncover Broker's background and conspire with the imprisoned Danny T to cause more trouble for Broker and Maddy.

A solid, unspectacular, and eminently calculable drama, Homefront delivers exactly what should be expected from a film starring Jason Statham with a screenplay by Sylvester Stallone. Regardless of the plot's progress, about every 10 minutes Broker gets to display his superior combat skills, taking on one or many foes with a near-certain outcome: Broker standing tall, everyone else crumpled in a heap. It's an almost comforting level of normalcy in action film making.

Stallone adds enough notes of humanity between Broker and his daughter Maddy to surround the skull bashing with familial warmth. And the character of drug addicted redneck mama bear Cassie, with Kate Bosworth in excellent form, injects a welcome variability.

But otherwise director Gary Fleder manages to bungle many of the action scene with barely rational angles and lazy editing, while the plot fills several cliche bingo cards: father and daughter lamenting the loss of the idyllic wife/mother, the horse-riding child placed in harms way, the pet in peril, the Black sidekick (Omar Benson Miller), the corrupt local cop (Clancy Brown), and the hints of a romance between the tough protagonist and the perky school psychologist (Rachelle Lefevre, way too perky for this backwater of a little town). 

Star charisma helps navigate the routine terrain, Jason Statham's stoic heroism and Dave Franco's slimy villainy creating worthy adversaries. Winona Ryder is too good for the fast-fried role of a trashy errand girl on the cusp of finding a conscience. Homefront wins no awards for originality, but is too busy breaking bones to care.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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