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Movie Review: 'Homefront'


Starring Jason Statham, James Franco, Kate Bosworth, Winona Ryder
Directed by Gary Fleder
Rated R

When you hear about a movie that was written by Sylvester Stallone, what’s the first thing you do?  You can be honest; you snicker a little bit don’t you?  It’s okay, we’re all friends here.  Just the thought of seeing Stallone typing away at a computer, maybe a pair of reading glasses on, protein shake sitting next to the keyboard as he bangs out page after page.  I know the guy wrote Rocky, but you still roll your eyes at the thought of it all.  But as I sit here and poke fun, the guy is pretty prolific when it comes to screenwriting and let’s be honest, a lot of those screenplays get turned into movies (most starring the man himself) and as I sit here and poke fun, I am in fact writing a review for his newest screenwriting endeavor called Homefront, starring Jason Statham and James Franco...wait…James Franco?

Statham makes sense, as he tends to star in films that are beneath his talent (which he does have by the way).  But Franco is kind of a mystery…or maybe not, the guy does dance to beat of his own drum.  So where am I going with this?  Oh yeah, Homefront, the Stallone scripted, Statham and Franco starring movie that actually isn’t as bad you might think.  In fact, I quite enjoyed it.  Now my enjoyment does not come from Stallone’s screenplay (which there are many problems associated with it) but my enjoyment comes from the fact that Homefront doesn’t present itself to be anything more than just a surprisingly well executed action film. Statham and Franco know there roles here and it’s not to win an Academy award, it’s to kick ass and act crazy, respectively.

Statham is Broker, a former DEA agent.  The movie starts out with Broker undercover in a biker gang, but after a shoot out with DEA agents, Broker walks away from the whole thing. Why?  Not really sure, Stallone or director Gary Fleder finds this important.  So Broker sets up shot in LA, raising his 10 year old daughter(we come to find out that Brokers wife past away recently).  Then one day Broker’s daughter gets into a fight with the school bully.  Because she’s Broker’s daughter, she kicks ass.  Broker arrives, only to be harassed by Cassie (Kate Bosworth) and her husband, the bully’s parents.  Broker kicks a little ass and Cassie, embarrassed by the beat downs, goes to her brother Gator ( James Franco), a meth dealer looking to expand his empire for justice.  Through convenient plot points, Gator discovers Broker's past and through his meth pal Sheryl (Winona Ryder) contact the biker gang Broker was undercover in and rat him out.  This sets up a showdown where Statham, you guessed it, kicks more ass.

Statham kicks a lot of ass in Homefront.  That's a good thing and a bad thing. Good thing for people who like action and want to see their hero kick ass for 2 hours.  It becomes a bad thing because there is no story, there is no peril.  At no point in the movie do you ever feel that Broker is in danger, even when he supposedly in danger, he's such a bad ass that he gets himself out of those situations with the greatest of ease.  But I guess you can't have your cake and eat it to when it comes to a lot of films in this genre.  Franco's Gator is also another really weak point in the story.  We're told that he's this crazy bad ass that you don't want unleashed.  But during the 3rd act, when the biker gang has gotten out of hand and Gator's proposition of handing over Broker in exchange for the gang to help distribute his meth starts to unravel, Gator starts acting like he's going to help Broker out.  But with a snap of the fingers, the story makes Gator evil again in a scene that doesn't really mesh with the rest of the movie.  

But I can't hate on this movie too much, it really is an enjoyable 2 hours. Sure the script comes off like a 1st draft but Gary Fleder, a director not really known for action films, does a decent job of keeping things tight and focused, even when Homefront's script is a little ridiculous.    Maybe next time Statham and Franco can join forces again in a movie that better plays to their talent level.

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