December 3, 2013


Directed: Gary Fleder

Duration: 100 minutes


Our hero, Jason Statham, is a normal man (albeit an ex-DEA agent) just trying to get through his day. Having moved out to a sleepy town in order to get away from his past, he intends to take things easy. However, people simply won’t let him be. They mess with him and they mess with his daughter. This gets the Stath’s back up. He gets a little mad, and he gets more than a little even.

If it all sounds a little predictable so far, then that’s with good reason. ‘Homefront’ offers the sort of plot that could have been drafted on the back of a cigarette packet. The same is true of the characters. To say that they’re lacking dimensions is an insult to all things lacking dimensions. That said, the screenwriter on this feature (Sylvester Stallone, no less) has turned this straightforward good-guy-forced-into-violence story from Chuck Logan into a trashy and amiable feast.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the impressive supporting cast that have turned up for the ride. Of them, James Franco appears to have fun with his vicious and slimy turn as bad guy/meth drug lord, Morgan ‘Gator’ Bodine. Winona Ryder, an actress who is generally sorely missed as a regular fixture these days, offers an unsophisticated yet competent performance in her role as ex-girlfriend and stooge, Cheryl Marie Mott. Statham remains an engaging screen presence.

To map out any more of the story would be to grossly underestimate the intelligence of anyone reading this review. Therefore, in order to sate any appetites as to a verdict, let this be said: if the chair is placed into the recline position, and the brain is switched into standby mode, then enjoyment can be had. Yes, this film is absolutely ridiculous, but it is also good fun. If it’s not taken seriously. Some might even say that this is perfect Friday night fodder.

Taken in a head-to-head with ‘the Expendables’, ‘Homefront’ is superior. Then again, that isn’t particularly hard, considering 2 hours in a traffic jam on a mid-summer’s day in Cape Town would be preferable to watching that tripe. At least ‘Homefront’ offers something to make the viewer smile and engage just ever so slightly with the characters on screen.

It’s a genre piece. It’s as simple as that. Taken on those terms, this isn’t all that bad. Just don’t expect more.

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