There’s a certain level of expectation for fans of Jason Statham every time he stars in a film. Audiences will be expecting lots of bone-crunching, hard-hitting violence and frosty one-liners. In that aspect, Homefront doesn’t disappoint. The film delivers on what is to be expected from his devoted fan base.
Homefront details the life of Phil Broker played by Statham who moves to a small town in Louisiana with his daughter. After the death of his wife, Statham tries to start fresh. One day, Statham’s daughter defends herself on the playground from the school bully. What starts out as a simple altercation between children then turns into an all-out war with pretty well everyone in town against Statham, other than the cute school psychologist. The town gets more than they bargained for however, once they realize that Statham isn’t a man to be crossed with.
The film starts out with a bang and moves along its runtime with a decent pace. Much of the film involves the development between Statham and his daughter. The film also works with all of the build-up of nefarious things that these conniving small-town rednecks get up to. Statham’s main opposition is redneck James Franco. Where Franco disappeared into his role in Spring Breakers however, he just feels unconvincing as the villain opposite Statham here.
Where Homefront both struggles and succeeds is in its script. The film is penned by none other than Sylvester Stallone himself. Unfortunately the film is predictable to a tee. Every story beat plays out as expected, so nothing comes as remotely shocking or revelatory. The film may be clichéd, but it also has some genuine heart to it as well. The film scores major points by spending most of its runtime developing the relationship between Statham and his daughter. Where many modern day action films focus on the style over substance, Homefront thankfully focuses more on these two. Granted, outside of those two main characters, none of the other characters in the film are remotely interesting or care-worthy. Most of them are one-dimensional cardboard cutouts that only serve the purpose of moving the story forward. In fact, many of the other characters portray all of the negative redneck stereotypes that American movies tend to sadly showcase.
At the end of the day, those who want an engaging story of a father who will do anything for his daughter will be sated, as will fans of Jason Statham that just want to see the guy beat people up and generally kick some ass.
In theatres Nov. 27.
By Philip Clarke