Runtime: 100 Mins
I liken Jason Statham to a modern day Charles Bronson, coming off with a solid ruggedness in his movies despite not being particularly noteworthy in the acting department. For a long while Bronson had a string of low key violent action thrillers, where one differed little from the next. Simple plots where a man just wanted the quiet life, but there was always some pissant who just couldn’t leave well enough alone. Statham’s resume is similar and here’s more of the same with Homefront. This one time ‘Rambo’ vehicle, co-written by Sylvester Stallone, is a straight forward thriller with some action elements rather than an action movie with some thriller elements. Statham is a man after the quiet life with his daughter, but some pissants just couldn’t leave well enough alone…
As it happens, Statham is a DEA agent whose undercover job among a group of bikers gets blown, compromising the security of a man who was already tired of his job. He gets his excuse to set up a new and quiet life in a small town. Without spoiling the movie, the bikers remain an integral part of the plot further in. To go slightly off topic, this is another set of bikers who remind me how unconvincing the Sons of Anarchy are, these ones are rough and real. Murderers without remorse. Anyway, a simple schoolyard fight brings escalating trouble to Statham’s new doorstep in the form of a local meth kingpin (James Franco).
It is known. You rarely get scintillating story dynamics in Jason Statham movies. If you didn’t know, the trailer probably should’ve alerted you. Some baddies find out a tough guy has a daughter (among other things), they ‘go there’ and push the usual buttons. But, simple as it is, it treads along at a comfortable pace, especially if you take it for what it is. Nice cinematography, nice lighting and the occasional brutal fight scene and/or Manly stare-down. It’s meat and potatoes screenwriting from Stallone. This is a big, shiny DTV with expensive packaging. Almost too big for the DTV market, but too small for the big screen. Unfortunately, due to this simplicity I can see it suffering financially. Movies about men in CGI diapers can get away with sub-par screenplays, but not Manly Men protecting their daughters. Sad.
There are complaints in this though, definitely. James Franco’s villain is weak, almost exceptionally weak. An unmotivated lackey of no real noteworthy stature in his own world, this problem comes full circle because it means the movie has a finale that is a bit anti-climatic. This movie is also diagnosed with a mild case of shaking-cam crazy-editing syndrome, so while the fight scenes are well choreographed, the actors and planners are let down by harsh camera work and splicing. But it’s not as bad other movies. When all is said and done though, the good outweighs the bad. Statham fans will won’t be disappointed, but the casuals will.
I am thankful this movie was made, I’ll take it. Solid but unremarkable, Statham has given us another Manly Movie worth buying.