Homefront Movie Review

Even when you try to be different, it’s easier to just stay the same.

Homefront, the new actioner from the pen of Sylvester Stallone and director Gary Fleder, opens in wide release today with a trip into the backwoods of Louisiana filled with characters not normally seen in action movies. Why then must it become such a typical action flick?

Phil Broker (Jason Statham) is a former DEA Agent who’s left his old life behind after the death of his wife and a particularly devastating undercover mission infiltrating a biker gang and settled in rural Louisiana to start a new life with his young daughter (Izabela Vidovic) away from the demons of his past.

Everything seems to be idyllic for the two until the young girl gets into a fight with a boy at school and humiliates and hurts her adversary in the process. This draw’s the ire of the boy’s mother, Cassie (Kate Bosworth), who essentially places a vendetta on Broker’s head for the incident.

Despite warnings that this Louisiana town is full of feuding, Broker shrugs off the threat and goes on about his ways. This is until Cassie enlists the help of her brother, Gator (James Franco), a local meth dealer and lowlife, to strike fear into Broker and let him know that he and his daughter can’t continue to behave as they have been.

Soon, Gator is able to dig up information about Broker’s past and uses it to not only make Broker’s life hard, but increase his own meth business as well.

What’s striking about Homefront is how almost-interesting all the characters are. From Bosworth’s tweaker mother to Franco’s twisted Gator, this small town has so much potential for dark and twisted uniqueness in the action world and it’s all just wasted by the third frame.

The film goes from a dark exploration of a town and who really has power into a punch-out/shoot-em-up action flick so quickly that it’s almost insulting. There are so many automatic weapons and martial arts in this movie that it may as well be a G.I. Joe film. How so many commandos are able to descend upon a rural town like this is a mystery but they just keep coming as the stakes get raised.

It’s a real disappointment because the deeper the film goes the shallower it gets. There’s no rich character study or meditations on issues, it just goes straight for fisticuffs and feet and loses all semblance of story and reality by the time the film turns for home.

It’s a shame because there’s so much wasted here: A unique setting and world of “feuding”, solid performances from Bosworth and Franco and how values influence actions. It was all on the table with this film and instead it chooses to become Jason Statham punching people and blowing stuff us as Homefront spirals into action film cliche world as it leaves the very unique world presented at its beginning behind with extreme prejudice.

Certainly a trip not worth taking.