February 24, 2014
"Homefront" is another Jason Stratham action flick. With that statement alone, you already know what you will get. Mr. Stratham does not give his fans any less. He is really THE old-fashioned action star of this day. He does not rely too much on computer-generated special effects to entertain his fans. He is all-brawn, the real stuff.
However, unlike past Jason Stratham films, "Homefront" has other big name stars on the marquee. We see names like James Franco, Kate Bosworth and even Winona Ryder! That is invitation enough to catch this film, and see what else it has to offer. It was also interesting to learn that the script was written by Sylvester Stallone for himself, but plans miscarried when Sly became too old for the lead.
Set in some small hick town in Louisiana, Phil Broker is a retired drug enforcement agent, who is a single dad to his spunky daughter Maddy. When Maddy tangled with a bully in school, they encounter the bully's combative mother Cassie. When Cassie's husband was humiliated by Phil, Cassie asks help from her brother, the local drug lord Gator Bodine. Things get nastier and more violent from there.
That was how it should have been on paper. But honestly when you watch this film, there is really no doubt that Phil Broker is a class of his own when pitted against these redneck lowlifes in this town. Gator Bodine never really posed a serious threat to Phil at all. It seemed as if Phil was on top of the situation the whole time. The rather anemic final confrontation gave proof to that.
James Franco was not able to fit well into his role of Gator. His performance was very unconvincing. It felt lazy and routine, unlike his other more intense performances. This shallow drug lord character in "Homefront" was not even a shade like his startlingly sinister gang leader character in "Spring Breakers".
Both ladies in the main cast I totally did not recognize. Kate Bosworth was totally deglamorized as this foul-mouthed virago of a housewife Cassie, whose unreasonably hot temper started this whole story rolling. I also did not see an iota of the Winona Ryder I knew. This waifish It-girl of the 1990s disappeared into her role as Sheryl, Gator's rough and unrefined girlfriend. Truth be told, I was confused as to who is who between these two ladies at one point. They practically looked similar with their "uglifying" make-up.
Of the whole cast, I liked the performance of young Izabela Vidovic best. She is the child actress who played Phil's daughter Maddy. Her acting was very natural, especially in those dramatic father-daughter scenes.
"Homefront" does not disappoint as an all-action Jason Stratham starrer. This one is okay, albeit rather unsatisfying when compared to "Transporter" and other Stratham films. Stratham's character Phil did not look like he had a hard time in this film. He always knew exactly what to do, and was able to execute his plans as he wants. If you watch this for the gritty action scenes alone though, this film and Statham definitely deliver the goods. 5/10.