HOMEFRONT // Jason Statham’s patented brand of violent thrillers have become a sort of art form, with strategic fight sequences built around a loose narrative that allows Statham’s characters to always be the good guy, looking like the underdog, but using his endless skills to take down villains much in the same vein as a less debonaire James Bond. In “Homefront”, penned by actor Sylvester Stallone, Statham plays undercover DEA agent Phil Broker, whose cover is lost on the night of a giant bust. With his identity unknown to the biker gang he was apart of, he disappears with his daughter to a small town to start over. But of course, this small town has its demons, in the form of a drug dealing family including Cassies (Kate Bosworth) the smart-mouthed meth addict and kingpin Gator (James Franco), along with his trashy girlfriend Sheryl (Winona Ryder). When Phil picks a fight with the wrong man, it seems the whole town is after him, but with a drug connection to Broker’s former biker gang, Gator proves to be the real kink in the chain.
What sets “Homefront” apart from any other action film of this flavor is the outstanding cast and Statham’s sincerity grounded by having a young daughter that he must tend to. Statham is, as always, his pitch perfect self, convincing as a father as well as a killer, he knows his niche and continues a perfect track record. More times than not, its the supporting cast that determines the quality of a Statham film, and this could be the best assembled cast yet, not only bringing big names to these supporting parts, but giving them turns that are not often seen from their wheelhouse. Franco makes another villainous turn since his bad guy role in “Spring Breakers” and proves his worth in all the scenes he’s involved in. The true unrecognizable turns are in Bosworth and Ryder, who slip into these trailer trash roles with a grace beyond any role they’ve done before. “Homefront” is by no stretch a finely tuned machine, but for straight up action fare, you could do a helluva lot worse.
[Directed by Gary Fleder] [R] [100 min] [27 November 2013]