Review: Homefront (2013)

Jason Statham does what he does best as a single father trying to lead a quiet life in Homefront - this time going up against white trash in the form of James Franco and Winona Ryder.

Homefront stars Jason Statham. Enough said? Probably. However, throw in James Franco, Wynona Ryder and Kate Bosworth as white trash antagonists and you have yourself something worth watching. Well, that would be the case if they were actually used properly – instead it is just a run-of-the-mill Statham film, and a poor one at that.

He plays former undercover DEA agent, Phil Broker, who retires after a drugs bust and moves out into the sticks with his daughter. His past soon comes back on him as he becomes embroiled with local hoodlum Gator (Franco) after an altercation with his sister, Cassie (Bosworth). With girlfriend Sheryl (Ryder) in tow, Gator attempts to hit the big time in the criminal world by threatening and revealing his identity.

As the title may suggest, this is very much an all American film, yet the focus is on a distinctly British Statham (when was the last time he did an American accent?). He’s clearly sleep walking his hard man performance and it feels as though you’re watching an Expendables film during the opening scene that is meant to show why Broker left the life of a DEA agent.

The other characters could have fared better playing against type, but after Bosworth makes a unique and unrecognisable appearance to set the rest of the film in motion, she’s disappointingly underused after that.

Franco’s rare turn as a bad guy (Spiderman hardly counts) may have redeemed this somewhat, but again, this is quickly ruined by his feeble scare tactics (beating up teenagers, slashing tyres) which hardly represents those of a man who should be feared, particularly if you know he’s going to go up against the Stat.

And when the square-off does eventually happen, it’s quite laughable how much we’re still meant to believe in Franco’s tough exterior after a few snarls and weak threats.

Homefront does have the usual action (bloodbath ending) as well as the usual stupidity (retired undercover agent leaves all his files in basement), and while Statham is clearly going through the motions, so will all of us watching.

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