Stath-attack in the deep South as Jason defends his little daughter from rednecks and meth-fiends.
Like Schwarzenegger and Van Damme before him, every action film in the US with Jason Statham has to give a nod to why this foreigner is kicking-ass(arse?) for Uncle Sam. “Homefront” starts with Statham’s DEA agent Phil Broker sporting very long hair posing as biker in drug gang. He duly stops badness but, exposed as a rat, he disappears. Cue a credit sequence that shows various ID cards and documents to show that he was once with Interpol (hence the English accent in Louisiana) together with photos showing him now shaven-headed and in the guise of the Statham we love.
Hiding out in the town where his dead wife grew up, his ten-year-old daughter gets into a schoolyard scrap and, trained by daddy, puts the bully down with a few swift blows. This triggers a series of petty redneck revenge incidents that quickly escalates when James Franco‘s meth-cooking Gator discovers the truth about Stath’s past and grasses him to the biker drug gang. And there we go. No need to say more on the plot. You’ve got it, right?
It’s a weird film, “Homefront”, co-produced and screenplayed by Sylvester Stallone, no less, and it has more than a hint of being one of his cast-off projects. His old “Expendables” mucker Statham fills in neatly, while the rest of an impressive cast – the aforementioned Franco, and Kate Bosworth, and despite a miscast Winona Ryder, give the film some acting chops. Gary Fleder directs the action well enough but there are too many daddy-daughter sentimental scenes with horses, trees and sunshine to an acoustic soundtrack that make for a clumsy contrast to the violence.
In its favour, when it looks like it’s about to become a tedious, poor man’s “Straw Dogs” house siege as Statham gears up against an all out assault, it manages to shift direction that concludes with some fun Franco nuttiness. Plus it has a modest scale and bucolic setting. Against it is the fate of Statham’s black pal, Teedo. Hmm, it’s Hollywood and he’s the black sidekick. What could possibly happen? Poor.
Worth a look for Statham fans only.