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Starring Jason Statham, James Franco, Winona Ryder, Kate Bosworth, Frank Grillo
Screenplay by Sylvester Stallone
Based on a novel by Chuck Logan
Directed by Gary Fleder

IN SHORT: Almost what you want from a Jason Statham role [Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, drug content and brief sexuality. 100 minutes]

Yes the writer of this film is "the" Sylvester Stallone -- the guy who wrote Rocky. Just before the screening of Homefront, someone mentioned out loud that this story was originally bandied about as Rambo 3. Or something. Good or bad, that's not the kind of distraction we needed bouncing around in the brain pan while watching Jason Statham, as an undercover cop cop named Phil Broker (Jason Statham) beat the junk out of a biker gang called "The Outcasts." Long story short, the leader of the gang sees his son gunned down and makes a promise to Broker, to do the same, somewhere. Some time down the road. A lot of words beginning with the letter "f" get tossed around.

Which is a shame. Teen boys love mindless violence. They all probably are well aware of "those words". Maybe they don't care. Maybe their parents don't care. This reviewer does. Especially at a time of year when film fare tends to get super heavy, in search of awards and such; mindless offers a brief respite. We don't mind an epithet here or there but this script goes far beyond that.

Two years later, Phil Broker retired. Now a widower, he takes his nine (almost ten) year old daughter daughter Maddy (Isabela Vidovic) to the small town of Rayville, Louisiana, to spend his days restoring an old house and enjoying his retirement. In the play yard of Rayville's Elementary school, a bully picks Maddy and she, having been trained by her father, defends herself. The net result is a bloody nose for the boy bully who is, apparently a "special needs" kid (though the only need apparent from the film's casting of a tubby kid would be a diet). Rayville Elementary makes calls to the parents of both kidlets and Homefront goes off from there.

The bully's skinny mother Cassie (Kate Bosworth) has anger issues, aggravated by the fact that (as we will learn) she fueled by methamphetamine. Her first action is to goad her husband (Frank Grillo) into fighting with Broker. That doesn't go well for the hubby, now embarrassed in front of all the neighbors and a heaping helping of other residents of Rayville. Not the way to make friends in a small town, either.

Things spiral out of hand from there. Cassie is not satisfied -- even when Broker makes an apology to the husband for any and all slights or perceived insults -- Cassie goes to her brother, Gator Bodine (James Franco) to formulate some kind of revenge strategy. The brother runs a small meth lab, which is on the verge of becoming a large meth lab, if he can just arrange for state-wide distribution. Gator breaks into the Broker house, steals some seemingly inconsequential items and the family cat and, basically, gets the lay of the land. In the basement he finds boxes of files of the Broker's undercover cases.

One case in particular -- the one referenced in our very first paragraph, rings a bell. A call is made to a lower life meth user (Winona Ryder) -- we're watching our language. This is a family friendly site-- a plan is formulated, which involves the now jailed biker gang leader insisting on an eye for an eye and, well, non-stop battles ensue, with daughter Maddy caught in the middle

As we wrote, mindless is useful to us at this time of year. We know Statham as a fighter, famous for kicking and jumping around and such. Homefront doesn't let us see what he does best. It sticks with mindless battle and, as long as you know that going in, we offer these words.

Buy popcorn.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Homefront, he would have paid . . .


The big popcorn.

amazon com link Click to buy films by Gary Fleder
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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.