By Dan Metcalf, Jr.
Clipper Film Correspondent
Homefront (Open Road Films)
Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, drug content and brief sexuality.
Starring Jason Statham, James Franco, Winona Ryder, Kate Bosworth, Chuck Zito, Mischa Barton, Frank Grillo, Rachelle Lefevre, Clancy Brown, Christa Campbell, Stuart Greer, Omar Benson, Izabela Vidovic.
Written by Sylvester Stallone, based on the novel by Chuck Logan.
Directed by Gary Fleder.
Nothing says “holiday film” like a movie about a DEA agent trying to live a peaceful life while dealing with a small town meth distributor. That's pretty much what you get in Homefront, starring Jason Statham as a tough guy trying to protect his daughter from bad guys.
Statham plays Phil Broker, a single father and former drug cop (with a strange hybrid of an English and Southern US accent) who leaves his profession to raise his daughter Maddie (Izabela Vidovic) away from all the trouble that haunts him due to an undercover drug sting gone bad a few years earlier (when he had hair). While trying to deal with a bully at school, Maddie uses some of the martial arts moves taught to her by her dad, and messes up the boy's face. When all the parents are summoned to the school, the site of their bloodied boy angers his mother Cassie (Kate Bosworth) and father Jimmy (Marcus Hester), who tries to beat up Broker in the school parking lot. Broker does what he does best and uses some of the same moves to neutralize Jimmy. Feeling even more disgraced, Cassie turns to her brother Gator (James Franco), who also happens to be the town's ruthless meth lord – to get a little payback.
Gator checks out Broker, and discovers his DEA background. Hoping to turn this information into an advantage, Gator uses Sheryl (Winona Ryder) one of his former girlfriends, to make contact with the leader of the South's biggest drug cartel who is serving time in prison (you'll never guess who put him there), in the hope that he can get a larger meth distribution circuit. The imprisoned drug lord dispatches a squad of baddies to the small town, where they soon discover how lethal Broker can be.
The rest you can pretty much figure out - as Statham kicks butt.
Homefront is a bad movie, full of cliches, rotten dialogue, and a more-than-predictable story outcome. Add to that Statham, who is good at looking tough and sawing down legions of bad guys – but not much else going on as an actor – and you get pretty much every other Jason Statham movie ever made.
I suppose the Homefront's only saving grace is James Franco, who plays a serviceable bad guy – but even his performance is questionable in the conclusion of the movie. That ending fight scene makes you wonder how Statham can take down 6 bigger guys with relative ease - and yet has a problem in a one-one-one battle with a skinny fellow like Franco.