Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

December 5, 2013

Home Front features lots of action, no surprises

By Ryan Maddux and Andy Stuckey
Greensburg Daily News

---- — New in theatres this week is Homefront (R).

Jason Statham stars as an ex-Interpol agent who relocates to a small Louisiana town with his daughter to start over. After a run-in with a local family, violent complications ensue. James Franco and Winona Ryder costar, Gary Fielder directs.

Andy: The screenplay to Homefront was written by Sylvester Stallone. While Stallone has penned a few pretty good movies, this one is put together pretty awkwardly. There are essentially no surprises here. You know what the plot is, who’s good and who’s bad, and how it is going to end all within the first 20 minutes. But people do not watch movies like this for a clever script, they watch to see some stuff blow up and Jason Statham kick some butt, and this movie has plenty of that.

Ryan: Maybe it’s Sylvester Stallone’s screenplay, but Homefront has the feel of an action movie from the late ‘80s/ early ‘90s. It’s a straight-ahead action-drama with clearly defined heroes and villains. The story is not complicated and exists purely on a surface-level of understanding. While the leaps in the narrative (and the head-scratching decision to relocate in an area where people know the criminal that one put away) are hard to overlook and accept, Homefront is a watchable flick. Ultimately, it is not a great movie or even a good movie but it is a serviceable film for those that want a mindless distraction.

Andy: There is not much need to talk about the performance of Jason Statham, as he is doing here the same thing he always does. It is worth stating that he does the “everyman with secret skills” thing about as well as anyone, but there is no need to expect any new range from him. James Franco, on the other hand, is notorious for choosing a wide range of roles. Here he is a small town meth dealer, which is a fairly unique part for him, but something does not quite ring true. Perhaps it’s that he too frequently seems like a Brad Pitt character, or that he is a little too ubiquitous to get lost in a character that still looks like James Franco. Whatever the reason, his character was intended to add a dynamic element to an otherwise tired script, but it ends up being little more than a distraction.

Ryan: James Franco is almost always enjoyable to watch and that’s true for his villainous role in Home Front. Obviously the lack of material that Franco has to work with is noteworthy but he hams it up in a suitable manner. Franco knows what kind of movie he’s in and he delivers that type of over-the-top performance. As for Statham he proves once again that he’s good at beating people up on the silver screen and there is a perverted poetry to it. While he’s completely miscast as the sympathetic father figure, he more than makes up for his lack of nuance with his fighting charisma. With the combination of Franco and Statham, Homefront is an adequately executed action film.

While Homefront meets the normal expectations of an action film, it does little to separate itself into a memorable movie. Final grade: C+.