Sunday, 20 July 2014

Homefront (2013)

Jason Statham plays, surprisingly enough, a tough guy in this standard action vehicle that allows him to do what he does best. Kick ass. This time around, he is a former DEA agent, named Phil Broker, who moves to the country for a quiet life with his daughter, Maddy (Izabela Vidovic). Things don't start off so well, however, when Maddy deals with a bully by using some of the moves that he daddy taught her. The parents of the lad are furious, and they're not the type of people to let things slide. In fact, the mother (Kate Bosworth) enlists the help of her drug-manufacturing brother (James Franco), which then leads to Phil's past being discovered, putting both him and his daughter in great danger.

Based on a novel by Chuck Logan, Homefront is simple stuff, yet it feels a lot better than many other standard action thrillers I've seen over the past few years. A part of that is down to the sparse, but effective, script by Sylvester Stallone, and a part of that is down to the solid direction from Gary Fleder, who does especially well during the vicious fight sequences that are peppered throughout the movie. He also paces the whole thing perfectly, from a prologue sequence that quickly establishes the basics, to the character introductions, to the tense and enjoyable final act. Everyone involved knows what viewers expect, and they deliver. In spades.

The cast also do their bit, of course. Statham has been doing his tough guy act for years, and he's damn good at it. I like him onscreen, even if he's trying to do an American accent, and he always brings a believable physicality to his action roles. Vidovic is great as his daughter, a winning combination of cute and tough. Bosworth feels as if she's overdoing her "white trash" act at times, but she gets better as her character is allowed to take things down a notch in the second half of the movie, and Franco has a lot of fun as a rather unlikely villain for Statham to clash with. Marcus Hester, Winona Ryder, Frank Grillo, Chuck Zito, Owen Harn and Stuart Greer play an assortment of supporting villains, and all do good work (Grillo doesn't get a lot of screentime, but he still makes one hell of an impression). On the side of good we get Clancy Brown as a local sheriff, Rachelle Lefevre as a caring teacher, and Omar Benson Miller as a young man helping Statham to fix up his homestead.

One of many movies that you will probably know beforehand whether you're likely to love or hate it, Homefront shouldn't be quickly dismissed just because it takes standard, familiar elements and puts them together for a great end result. I'd argue that it should be applauded for exceeding expectations, no matter how low some of those expectations might be.


If you like this blog (yeah, if you can admit to such bad taste), or have been pointed towards a decent movie by any reviews here, then please feel free to head on over to Amazon and grab a copy of my e-book, TJ's Ramshackle Movie Guide. I assure you that it's good value and, more importantly for me, every copy purchased puts a pound or two in my pocket, and helps me to show my wife that I'm not wasting my entire life.

The UK version can be bought here -

And American folks can buy it here -

As much as I love the rest of the world, I can't keep up with all of the different links in different territories, but trust me when I say that it should be there on your local Amazon.

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