Homefront features a different shade of Jason Statham than we’ve ever seen before. Dare we say a sweeter side of the action hero? In Homefront he plays a young girl's father who leaves his DEA job behind to move to a quiet Southern town to raise his little one, passing the time enjoying horseback rides and the like. Don’t worry -- he still kicks a lot of butt because this wouldn’t be a Statham movie if there wasn’t trouble brewing around the corner.
That comes in the form of James Franco’s meth dealer. Statham is minding his own business when a few less than educated locals tangle with him because… well, he’s different. When the beating (and it is a major beating) reaches the guys’ boss, Franco, he doesn’t take too kindly to it. The two have a stay-out-of-my-business chat, but we all know that is the prelude to a major confrontation.
Franco’s character Gator is trying his best to be a major player in the drug trade and when he learns of Statham’s background as a DEA agent, he suspects the worst. In fact, if he had just left him alone, things may have turned out differently. But, then again, we wouldn’t have Homefront.
Statham scores in the role of doting father -- shown even in a Homefront red band trailer -- and it’s nice to see him stretch his wings. We have to have full disclosure and let it be known that Movie Fanatic is kind of fond of the entity that is a Statham movie. And Homefront is frankly a very good Jason Statham film -- although it may not be the best James Franco movie.
Franco loses himself in the role of Gator. But, instead of having a blast playing someone so embroiled in his own desire to do bad, he seems to just wade in the water. The scenes with him and Statham should pop, and they are just kind of OK. Where he does excel is in his scenes where he’s running his business, especially with co-stars Winona Ryder and Kate Bosworth.
The actor has a romantic connection to Ryder, who plays someone who is just as driven as him to make it in the drug trade. The two have fantastic chemistry and it’s nice to see Ryder play someone who is not so rosy. And Bosworth, as Franco's onscreen sister, truly looks the part of a meth addict, with withdrawn eyes and a gaunt figure. She brings it, and when her husband is assaulted (rightfully) by Statham, it is the fuse that sets the fire of our entire confrontation between the two. Franco excels particularly in the role of big brother trying to protect his sister. We just wish he brought more to the role of antagonist to Statham’s protagonist.
Director Gary Fleder does a nice job of balancing the familial moments between the characters and the action that is right in Statham’s wheelhouse. The screenplay by Sylvester Stallone (yes, that guy… he does have a Best Screenplay Oscar for Rocky and the man can write) is tight and hits the right notes between action and sentimentality.
Our Homefront review finds that for fans of Statham, this is truly a Thanksgiving treat -- as much as a story about meth dealers can be a holiday joy!
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