Thursday, March 27, 2014

Review and Analysis of "Homefront (2013)"

"When I go home, I am gonna read my daughter a bedtime story. This is how it ends."
                                                                                                                                            - Phil Broker

The trend of action movies have always been a hit. Many of the old action heroes have started to come back as well as new actors have joined in. With hits such as "The Expendables" (1 and 2) and "The Fast and The Furious series" there is no doubt that this genre is still giving audiences what they want to see- people beating each other up, explosions and car racing taking place. One of the most recent actors to inherit a name for himself in this genre is Jason Statham who earlier starred in many caper films directed by Guy Ritchie and is mostly famous for his lead role in the "Transporter Trilogy". His movies generally compromise on the story and character development in place of intense action sequences where we get to see him beating up bad guys and he always performs it with extreme delight. His recent flick, "Homefront" promised to give more than that. Let's see what it offered.
Based on a screenplay by Sylvester Stallone and on a novel by Chuck Logan, the film follows a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent by the name of Phil Broker (Jason Statham) who goes into an undercover operation to stop a biker gang named "The Outcasts" in shutting down their drug distribution operation. When the operation gets bused, the leader of the gang, Danny T (Chuck Zito) tries to escape with his son. However, in the firefight, his son gets shot and killed by the police which forces Broker to quit his job. The reason was never specifically stated except for the fact that maybe he didn't like the fact that a father lost his only son. We cut to 2 years later in the film, where Broker has moved in with his daughter, Maddy Broker (Izabela Vidovic) to the quiet town of Raysville which according to her has everything they would want to have except for a "Wi-Fi".
                                "A beautiful house, horse trails, river in our backyard"

Trouble starts when Maddy beats up a local boy at the school who was bullying her who turns out to be sun of a drug addict Cassie Klum (Kate Bosworth). It so happens that Cassie is the sister of the main antagonist of the movie, Gator Bodine (James Franco) who has a small meth distribution system setup in the town and is planning to expand it to the states.
When Cassie asks Gator to "scare off" Broker and his daughter, Gator starts to look into his background. When he learns the truth about him, he hires his girlfriend Sheryl Marie Mott (Winona Ryder) to act as a middleman to Danny T.'s lawyer so that he can give him Broker in exchange for state wise distribution of his drugs. And that's where the battle for "Home" starts.
The plot is intriguing enough but the film had some flaws. As the movie was filled with a good cast, I was inclined to assume that maybe it was not a regular Statham flick like many were hoping to believe. First, its the main antagonist himself. James Franco is a wonderful actor and seeing his performance in "127 Hours" made me realize his potential to act as a villain. However, his character was seriously underutilized. The name Gator was twice compared to an alligator in the movie: once when we see the tattoo on his right arm and second when during the opening movie credits when we see an alligator swimming in a lake thereby indicating that he will fight for his territory. However, apart from that there was nothing fleshed out about his character. We see that he feels sorry for his sister and angry at himself for giving her the drugs but apart from that we never see the conflict going inside him in which he may question himself as doing the right or a wrong thing. In other genre, he may have made an excellent character where the film makers could have sympathized with him for him being evil and could have explained why he chose to do the things he is doing. Aside from stating only one specific reason for why he wants to hurt Broker (due to his sister) there is no other reason why he does not believe that is it worth to risk an innocent man's life, most particularly, a child's. I was expecting some dramatic moments as the whole movie was revolving around the theme of a hero and a villain both fighting to protect their family for their own particular reasons. I believed the reasons of the villain were never explained clearly in the movie. In the end, he did bad things because he was bad and turned out to be a typical movie villain in a typical Statham movie. He also didn't seem much of a threat and was very easily defeated by Broker in the final action sequence. Ryder's character was also underutilized due to the fact that we know she can act. Frank Grillo, played a hitman named Cyrus who was sent by Danny T. to kill broker and who also failed to deliver good villainous moments even after delivering solid performances in "The Grey" and "Prison Break". The actors had a lot of potential but the script did not allow them to fully explore what they could have given. 
  "I believe your reputation is the most important thing"

Now, we come to the hero. Statham as usual delivers a good performance as the tough father.Here's a father whose daughter you don't want to mess with because that's the last thing you would be doing. We get to hear break knuckles, throw punches, blast shotgun shells and throw heavy stuff at his enemies. Its always a delight in all of his movies to see him warning bad guys about not messing with him and how we root for the bad guys to do just the opposite of it because when they do...we are in for a treat. There is a scene in the movie where Broker threatens Gator in a restaurant which is a great suspense builder. However, the outcome was a disappointment. Nevertheless, apart from the finale the rest of the action scenes were done pretty well and brutal. This one could easily qualify as one of Statham's "Satuday Action Hours".
                               "I want my kid's cat back. Today. Not a hair out of place"

Overall, the film was enjoyable for its action sequences but apart from that it lacked character development and many plotholes. One of the main reasons was the presence of a good cast which made me believe this would not be a standard Statham action flick but a bit more. Also, Sylvester's Stallone's name attached to the screenplay definitely build up the hype due to his previous successful works. There is a lesson to be learnt here, a good cast does not necessarily mean presence of good characters and plot if its a Statham flick. Sit back and enjoy it for what it gives you for your time and money...explosions and action.

My rating-45%


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