BY ERIN TORRANCE
A few Wednesdays ago I trekked out to the theatre for the opening night of Jason Statham’s newest film Homefront. Clearly, it’s taken me a long time to get around to this review, mostly due to fact that, well, I couldn’t figure out what to write. When it comes down to it, Homefront isn’t terrible, but to try and come up with something that’s noteworthy, that makes it good, well, that takes time.
Looking at the basics, it’s all pretty average. Tagline: “How far would you go to protect your home?” Not really much to boast about. Director: Gary Fleder, whose work generally floats somewhere between 6.0 and 7.0 ratings on IMDB (Tales from the Crypt being the highlight, I’d say). Screenplay: Sylvester Stallone, whose record is pretty much the equivalent to Fleder’s.
So far, it all seems pretty, well, average, right?
But then we move onto the plot and cast, which seems to have a lot of potential. Plot: Phil Broker (Statham), a DEA agent, retires following a very high-risk undercover gig and the death of his wife. He moves with his daughter, Maddy (Izabela Vidovic), to a small town that we’re told is where his wife had wanted them to eventually live. They buy a couple horses and settle in. After a few rough encounters, Broker soon finds that he can’t quite leave his work behind. Eventually, he rubs elbows with the wrong family, which includes local drug lord Morgan “Gator” Bodine (James Franco). Eventually, it turns into a typical Statham film, with Broker being a force not to be reckoned with, even if you are the top headhunter around. And to that cast so far, we can also add Kate Bosworth, who plays the sassy, white trash sister of Gator, and Winona Ryder, Gator’s girlfriend.
But despite what might seem like potential, it all fell flat. The characters were mostly one-dimensional and really didn’t change a whole lot. There was never a question as to whether or not Broker was good—everything he did was heavily justified, but overly so at many points. Druglord Gator was always sketchy; he had a heart, but clearly everything that he did was wrong. And there never was any question about what would happen to Broker and his daughter. (I won’t give anything away, though it’s not like I could.)
Having said all this, my review of Homefront, so far, pretty much reflects what I took from A Single Shot. And that’s where I get stuck, because Homefront really wasn’t terrible. And now that I’ve spent nearly spent an hour (and it feels like so much longer) plugging away at these 500 words, I’m back to the same issue. What is it that makes Homefront OK? I suppose it’s just because you get what you would expect. It’s your standard Statham flick, and even if every punch, kick, slam, or shot is predictable, it’s still so satisfying—as long as you don’t think too hard about why.