Every so often, a tall glass of ridiculousness helps break up moviegoing monotony. Some filmmakers have tried their hardest to makes escapist entertainment, and have instead delivered films that were too heavy on lunkheaded machismo.
Gary Fleder’s Homefront had come in under the radar – or, so it seemed to me. Since it stars Jason Statham as the lead, it fell into that vaguely generic category most people seem to group Statham action flicks in. They acknowledge the film is there, but will admit the film just is not for them. After recent dumb slogs like Safe and Parker, I can see where those movie goers are coming from.
I beg for those audiences to give Homefront a shot. It definitely has qualities of those hard-hitting action flicks Statham has been known for, but I found myself having an absolute ball with its roundhouse kick mentality. Homefront is greasy entertainment without a subtle bone in its stacked build – and, I had a blast.
Fleder’s rock ’em sock ’em movie has Statham playing Phil Broker, a father protecting his daughter (played by adorable newcomer Izabela Vidovic) from tweaked out meth heads in the sultry South.
After a quarrel initiated by schoolyard bullying, an angry mother (played by an unrecognizable, spun out Kate Bosworth having fun playing against type) gets her brother Gator involved with tit-for-tat revenge. Gator (played by a Spring Breakers-lite James Franco) finds out about Broker’s DEA agent experience and finds out Phil’s connected to a rattling drug sting that took place two years prior. Gator and his associates are not pleased.
Homefront’s flashy and rough violence will often have you stepping out of the movie to ask, “Wait a tick! How did we end up here again?”. However, most likely you’ll be distracted by an explosion or an intense fight between Statham and a meth head. Then, you’ll forget why you even questioned it in the first place.
The film is one of those exceptions because of how confidently crazy it is, and how resilient the outcomes are. Homefront delivers on its escapist mandate and it’s exciting throughout. I could end the review there, but let’s talk about the screenplay momentarily.
I don’t know if Sylvester Stallone is a smart action writer or an ill-equipped one, since his script contributes to the energetic finesse. On one hand, you have rugged encounters that will have you properly rooting for the good guy when Broker s smashing a crook’s head in with an inanimate object. But, on the other hand, every drug user in Stallone’s script screams and drops f-bombs as if it’s going out of style.
To be fair, Fleder contributes to the cartoony villains. Apparently if you use meth, you don’t have any warm lighting and everywhere you go, washes of blue shades follow you. In a scene that looks as if its parodying itself, the good guys are all shining in overly lit gold, while the druggies scamper around in dank hollows.
But, it’s all a cartoon in Homefront. And, I like cartoons when they consistently keep me invested and on the edge of my seat. Outside of the wild Crank series, Homefront is the Jason Statham movie I’ve been waiting for.