Homefront Review

“Whatever you’re thinking, re-think it”

Phil Broker (Jason Statham) works for the DEA and whilst on an undercover drugs bust he witnesses the overzealousness of the police force and the unnecessary death of a suspect. Disgusted by these events and tired of the DEA, Phil turns in his badge and scraggly black hair for a quiet life in the country petting horses, filling up his car with petrol and choking parents who don’t agree with his daughter’s style of self-defence. This new Phil tries his hardest to keep the peace, (for the sake of his daughter) and his fatigued face often begs the question “Can’t we all just get along?”

The fact that Jason Statham is English and that the film doesn’t cover up this fact nor does it acknowledge it works to its strength as you really get that sense that he doesn’t belong in the community which brings a certain menace to the film. This place can be kind as it is cruel and the setting reflects this from the serene countryside whilst Phil takes his daughter out for a lovely horse ride to the grim, murky quayside where the dingy fishing boats reside. Its residents are just as colourful. In this incarnation of ‘action hero’ Statham we are shown there is a soft marshmallow centre inside his hardened shell. This mainly blossoms when interacting with his daughter as he moved to this new district for her sake in an attempt to leave the past behind him. The screenplay could have explored this relationship a bit more to make it feel more grounded but this is sacrificed for more action and assuring you that Jason is still a badass. The film lacks jeopardy as you never feel he is out of control even when an entourage of armed thugs surround his home. Fortunately the film doesn’t take itself seriously and there is an injection of humour interlaced throughout that has surprising finesse.

The story starts off with his daughter beating up a kid because he was bullying her which then transforms into the boy’s mother Cassie’s (Kate Bosworth) revenge which quickly gets out of hand when she enlists the help of her drug dealing brother Gator (James Franco) who is a conniving weasel. He finds something out about Phil that will, unfortunately, disturb him from his newly found smile. The problem with this is that the narrative is loosely plotted with increasingly strenuous circumstances to try and hold the whole thing together. It’s, ridiculous, fun at the time but it fails to go anywhere interesting with its characters. It has an unfailingly fast pace but it doesn’t let up that pace until the end and it could’ve done with slowing down to allow the characters breathing time before Jason Statham knocked out their brains. There are some dark character arcs going on here such as Gator’s sister Cassie being addicted to crystal meth, increasingly erratic and barely fit to look after her disabled son but this is underexplored much to the films detriment. The larger cast as a whole aren’t fully utilised and although their characters are given an initial bite the script never really sinks its teeth into them and again the film favours action over substance. The action itself is satisfying and Jason Statham feels right at home here. He even puts in a good turn to show off his pacifist side. Even the fighting is slightly different here as he fights with a fatherly boredom and a world weary disbelief that this is happening to him.

The film definitely entertained me but I won’t think about it beyond that which is a shame because the film could have been more than the next action-fix.

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