“Whatever you’re thinking, rethink it!” glowers Jason Statham. Homefront’s prospective viewers would be well advised to do the same.
Despite starring action cinema’s most charismatic cue ball, being based on a Sylvester Stallone script, and featuring a starry supporting cast (James Franco, Winona Ryder, Kate Bosworth) playing strung-out meth-heads, Gary Fleder’s fight flick is liable to disappoint all but the least demanding of viewers.
Pedigree doesn’t always equate to quality, of course, but this first adaptation of Chuck Logan’s series of novels has a curiously passed-round-the-posts feeling. Statham wasn’t the first actor attached – Stallone wrote it for himself 10 years ago, which is how long it’s been since Fleder had a high-profile cinema release (Runaway Jury).
We begin with undercover DEA agent Phil Broker (Statham in a glorious mullet) caught up in a drug bust going south. Then it’s Broker who’s going south, to New Orleans, to try and start over with his young daughter (Izabela Vidovic). But it’s not long before they fall foul of redneck dealer Gator (Franco) and his family, including an excellent Bosworth as a skinny addict.
Although Franco’s clearly enjoying himself, and Statham smashes faces with finesse, two warring films emerge, neither of them particularly convincing. The first is pure daddy-daughter cheese, with Broker reading his daughter bedtime stories and romancing her school counsellor (Rachel Lefevre).
The second is straight-to-DVD fight-flick filler, with savage fisticuffs and soft-headed dialogue sharing equal billing. “I want my kid’s cat back – today,” threatens Statham with an admirably straight face, “Not a hair out of place!” Frankly, it’s hard to imagine anyone who’d be satisfied with either strand, let alone both.
Neither Friday-night fun, nor Sunday-night serious, Homefront short-changes its cast and its audience, while its greatest asset – the sizeable WTF? factor – soon dribbles away into boredom.
An unfathomably airless B-movie that betrays its USP by spreading the thrills too thinly. You can see why Stallone had second thoughts...