Saturday, November 30, 2013


Not a whole lot to say about Homefront that I didn't say at eFilmCritic, other than to mention that while I tend to like Jason Statham, and wanted to make a point of how he's probably doing his best acting job since The Bank Job here, I can't say for sure because I tend to miss a lot of the stuff he does that goes straight to video, and for all I know, there may be some underrated gems in there.

Heck, I miss a lot of the stuff that he does that makes it to theaters, because he's done enough pretty crappy stuff that doesn't necessarily even have a good preview that I often wind up skipping his movies, especially when one comes out during a week or season (like this one) where it's easy for it to get lost in the shuffle. I suppose one can't exactly argue with his career choices, but he certainly does seem like a guy who could do better.

Oh, and as an aside: There were a couple emails on Chlotrudis's list talking up James Franco for a more literary project or three that he's done lately, and how he's a favorite. Makes me wonder if his pretty decent turn as the villain here is enough to get some of those guys into the new Statham movie.


* * ½ (out of four)
Seen 29 November 2013 at the Regal Fenway #5 (first-run, 4K DCP)

Here's a question: If a by-the-numbers genre movie that otherwise has direct-to-video (or, these days, video-on-demand) written all over it somehow puts together a group of interesting actors who actually play their parts fairly well, does it really matter if this doesn't make for better action? Maybe, maybe not. There winds up not being much to Homefront, but it's a lot less laughable between fights than many other movies of its ilk.

It starts out with a drug bust in Shreveport, Louisianna, where the DEA takes down a biker gang led by Danny Turrie (Chuck Zito) with the help of undercover Interpol agent Phil Broker (Jason Statham - you can tell he's undercover because he has hair and is attempting an American accent). It does not end in an ideal fashion. Two years later, Broker is living a few hours away in Rayville, where his late wife grew up, raising his daughter Maddy (Izabela Vidovic), pretty much retired. Trouble starts when Maddy stands up to a bully at school, because the kid (Austin Craig) has a mother (Kate Bosworth) who has a brother (James Franco) who cooks meth, and having this DEA guy in his backyard could be both a threat and an opportunity.

For as much as Homefront follows a familiar template from its generic title to its familiar story about the super-cop who just wants to live a quiet life remodeling the old house he bought (except that criminals just have to keep poking at him until he is forced to unleash the violence), Sylvester Stallone's adaptation of Chuck Logan's novel is just far enough off the usual beam to be interesting. Lay the plot out, and it's an almost comedically absurd escalation from kids shoving each other on the playground to grownups firing automatic weapons at the climax, but the path between those two events meanders in a way that can occasionally be frustrating, but also amusing. As much as the audience may grumble about not much happening, there's something to like in how this absurdity plays out, from the "girl takes down much larger guy" fight being played out with ten-year-olds to how the missing cat gets played as a tack-on bit to several scenes rather than just a way to show how nasty the bad guys are.

Full review at EFC.

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