We don’t need to be reminded that the backwoods countryside of the south is an inhospitable place. We know that, and we are constantly reminded of that, whether it’s chainsaw wielding psychopaths, uncontrollable Honey Boo-Boo’s, or civil war era Confederates. Don’t go there if you value your continued existence. If for whatever reason you are forced to go there, don’t go alone. Make sure to bring an 80’s-esque action hero with a complicated past because in these cliched situations, they are the only ones that can help. Homefront plays like an action film from yester-year, with all the bad writing, predictable situations, and reluctant heroes we have come to expect.
Phil Broker (Jason Statham) is an ex-DEA agent who just finished a huge undercover bust of a meth production racket in Louisiana. After an incident where he witnessed a guy get brutally gunned down by a police firing squad, he was done. He quit and went to smaller town in Louisiana with his young daughter Maddy (Izabela Vidovic) to live a quiet, ordinary life. If these kinds of movies have taught us anything, it’s that the past will always come back to haunt us, and that they usually bring a lot of guns.
Inevitably, trouble does find the family in the form of an aspiring drug lord called Gator (James Franco), and his partner Sheryl (Winona Ryder). Due to an altercation between Maddy and a bully at school, the bully’s mother, Cassie (Kate Bosworth), enlists the help of her brother Gator to even the score against Phil. Gator finds out about Phil’s past and brings in the help of the gang Phil locked up when he went undercover for the DEA. Shooting ensues, and there is not a doubt in your mind who will be victorious in the end.
The films screenplay, written by Sylvester Stallone, plays predictably. Beyond predictably actually. You don’t need to see the film to know who exactly what is going to happen. The film attempts to play on our sense of nostalgia, and if it wasn’t for Jason Statham’s new truck, you could believe that this small town was in fact stuck in the 1980’s. This film comes off less nostalgic and more like an anachronism. We’ve outgrown these kinds of films. We’re not that easily amused anymore. We need more substance, and not so much substances (in this case meth).
It’s not all bad. In fact the action sequences have a brutality to them that you don’t see in your typical retro-action film. The only problem is that they are too few and not nearly enough to make up for the genuinely subpar script and story problems. The star-studded cast are one of the few positives in this film. Statham, Franco, Ryder and Bosworth all give solid performances that make you stick it out and watch the movie to the obvious ending. Homefront is a film that you won’t regret watching, but that shouldn’t be mistaken for enjoyment.
RATING: ★★★★(4/10 stars)
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