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‘Homefront’ a standard actioner with missed opportunities

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Homefront” pits Jason Statham as a retired DEA agent named Phil Broker against some nasty bikers and bayou baddies. Recently widowed, he moves to a nowhere town in Louisiana with his young daughter to try to rebuild their lives in peace and quiet. An unfortunate confrontation with the parents of the school bully (Kate Bosworth, Marcus Hester) escalates to the local meth producer (James Franco) informing some vengeful bikers of Broker’s whereabouts.

While Statham fans will be satisfied, “Homefront” misses a lot of opportunities that could have elevated the movie to something even better. They start with Sylvester Stallone’s screenplay (adapted from Chuck Logan’s novel) not always being up to the talents of his cast. He’s written some nice roles for women. Bosworth is unrecognizable as a sickly emaciated meth addict. She’s a scary person to be on the bad side of yet also shows herself to be a pitiable victim of her environment. Winona Ryder is equally good as Franco’s tough and skanky girlfriend caught in an out of control situation. And young Izabela Vidovic steals the movie with an intelligent and honest breakout performance as Broker’s daughter Maddy.

The men on the other hand have much less to work with. Franco does little more than yell and spew profanity. His one good moment comes as he quietly watches his world go up in flames. Clancy Brown is vaguely intimidating as a crooked sheriff but never has any real purpose in the story. Omar Benson Miller brings a great affability to Broker’s friend Teedo but we are left wishing we had more of him.

Statham will not disappoint and has some great action scenes though director Gary Fleder makes them hard to follow. His camera shots are too tight with too many cuts and often take place in the dark. And though Broker apparently has skills beyond his overly capable hand-to-hand combat abilities, they are never fully realized. Even so, "Homefront" delivers a solid though mostly undistinguishable action flick.


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