Directed by Gary Fleder and written by Sylvester Stallone, Homefront is an action film that focuses on Phil Broker (Jason Statham), a former DEA agent who becomes entangled with a drug cartel led by kingpin Gator Bodine (James Franco). Two years after leaving the DEA, the recently widowed Broker and his 10-year-old daughter Maddy (Izabela Vidovic) move to the sleepy backwater town of Rayville, Louisiana, where they hope to start a new life. However, an altercation between Maddy and a bully in the schoolyard ultimately leads to Broker taking down the bully’s father in the parking lot. Cassie (Kate Bosworth), the bully’s mother, then enlists the help of Gator, her brother-in-law, to make Broker pay for humiliating her family.
Much of the movie focuses on the relationship between Broker and his daughter, and the need he feels to protect her as they both mourn the loss of their wife and mother. Much of the dialogue is uninspired, and I never truly felt for either of the characters because they lacked chemistry. Despite this, Izabela Vidovic, in her feature film debut, definitely exhibits potential as an actress. She simultaneously presents her character as strong and capable, taking after her father, but still frightened and vulnerable. I wish that Stallone’s script had given her more to work with.
James Franco once again proves his versatility as an actor, as he makes a menacing Gator. After discovering Broker’s true identity, he decides to turn him over to Danny T, a fellow meth dealer Broker busted years ago, in exchange for access to Danny T’s drug distribution network. To do so, he enlists the help of his girlfriend Sheryl Mott, played convincingly by Winona Ryder. Gator and fellow members of his drug ring stop will stop at nothing to get to Broker--even if that means putting his daughter in harm’s way. I never really felt a true sense of danger for either Broker or Maddy. There never seems to be any doubt that Statham’s character will be able to take down any of these “bad guys”--in fact, he does it so easily that the movie lacks a certain element of suspense.
While the movie is well cast and visually impressive, there’s not much else here to separate it from any other action movie. It suffers from a weak script that often leaves the relationships among the characters feeling one-dimensional. If you’re a fan of mindless, violent, good-guy-takes-down-bad-guy fare, then this is for you. But if you’re looking for something with a little more suspense or real emotional substance, I’d suggest looking elsewhere.