Homefront is an action-movie affront 

Jason Statham and James Franco square off in the boonies.

For years, Jason Statham has been brutalizing Eurotrash baddies in the Transporter films. With Homefront, he brings his granite mug and fists of fury to the swamplands of Louisiana, where he gets to brutalize all-American rednecks. The film’s title and its poster — the latter showing Statham's back draped in the stars of the U.S. flag — would seem to suggest Homefront’s target audience is the hand-over-heart super patriots. But there’s a bit of bait-and-switch at work here, as Statham, with his gruff English accent, proceeds to lay waste to local mechanics, bikers and anyone else that threatens him or his family.

Homefront, based on a novel by Chuck Logan, was scripted by Sylvester Stallone, and Statham’s Expendables franchise costar turns in a screen story every bit as dumb and functional as you’d expect. And it might have been an enjoyable hour and a half of pulp were it not for the mess of editing that renders the fight scenes mostly incomprehensible, and a mash of plot developments that make no sense except to keep this flabby movie wheezing along.

The widowed Phil Broker (Statham), a former DEA agent, has moved to Rayville, La., to raise his 9-year-old daughter. Because she’s been taught to stand up for herself, she socks a schoolyard bully square in the nose. From that point, we’re fed a lot of hokum about the long memory of a small town, and how Broker is now being watched closely by the townsfolk.

Initially, the main person with an ax to grind is the bully’s meth-addict mom (played by an emaciated-looking Kate Bosworth). Feeling there’s still some justice to administer, she turns to her meth-cooking brother, the wonderfully named Gator Bodine (James Franco). While snooping around Broker’s two-story home, Bodine discovers boxes upon boxes of law enforcement files (why they're not in a federal facility is anyone's guess) and decides he can use that information to impress a biker gang that Broker had infiltrated. Even when it’s clear the gang has no real interest in distributing Bodine’s meth, he helps them anyway.

It doesn’t help the film that Broker might as well be a superhero. The one time he gets into trouble with the hicks, Broker quickly turns his situation to his advantage. Franco plays Bodine with his oily, smirking flair, but both of his scenes with Statham are flat, and he's hardly a match for him anyway. An obvious romantic subplot with the elementary school’s counselor (the gorgeous Rachelle Lefevre) is teased here and there but never develops. More often than not, I'd be inclined to say that's a good thing, but for a film that struggles to generate a pulse, some bedroom heat would have been nice.

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Related Films

  • Homefront

    • CL rating: 2 stars
    • Rated R - Action/Adventure, Suspense/Thriller
Homefront
Rated R · 110 min. · 2013
Staff Rating:
Director: Gary Fleder
Writer: Sylvester Stallone and Chuck Logan
Cast: Jason Statham, James Franco, Kate Bosworth, Frank Grillo, Izabela Vidovic, Clancy Brown, Omar Benson Miller, Winona Ryder, Jeremiah Johnson and Seth Adair

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