Saturday, April 12, 2014

Film Review: Homefront

Copyright: Millennium Films
This movie is at its weakest when the most important things in it happen, at the beginning and at the end. The middle part, ironically conceived as the buildup section of the story, is a lot more interesting and engaging.

Jason Statham plays a former undercover DEA agent, Phil Broker who moves to the American south with his litter daughter after his cover is blown and he is forced to retire. In the swampy outback, Broker tries to live a normal life, but a small altercation between his daughter and a local boy begins a process that will result in all out violence, or the thing that usually happens in movies where Statham plays the leading role.

In this film, his enemy is Gator, local meth producer and head jerk, played by James Franco. Franco can pull off many roles, so he didn’t have any problem with presenting Gator as a mildly sadistic, impulsive criminal, but who is ultimately a scavenger in the underworld, and not the main predator. The most dynamic parts involve Broker trying to defuse situations where he is, totally unjustly, targeted by one or several local thugs sent by Gator. These scenes are extremely realistic, brutal and fun to watch. Here the director Gary Fleder gave his best, so all unarmed fight scenes are very entertaining.

Interestingly, the screenplay was written by Sylvester Stallone, who inadvertently gave the film a slightly nostalgic aroma, in the sense that the story resembles older action stories of this type (a normal family guy just want to be left alone, but the bad guys who plan on pushing him around don’t realize he is in fact a killer commando machine) . The same was seen in Bullet to the Head, but here it is thankfully more subtle.

Fleder, who didn’t do many feature-length films in recent years, did succeed in making a solid action film; maybe even a notch or two about the usual Statham cinematic norm. There are no idiotic parts and the plot doesn’t stall anywhere, even if the end is slightly unconvincing, so it could be said that I was pretty satisfied with the Homefront experience.