Homefront (2013)
By: Rip on February 10, 2015 | Comments
Roadshow | Region B | 2.35:1, 1080p | English DTS-HD MA 5.1 | 100 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Gary Fleder
Starring: Jason Statham, James Franco, Izabela Vidovic, Kate Bosworth, Clancy Brown, Winona Ryder, Rachelle Lefevre, Frank Grillo
Writer: Sylvester Stallone (based on the novel by Chuck Logan)
Country: USA
Retired DEA agent and single father Phil Broker (Jason Statham) has started life anew, choosing to settle in a sleepy Louisiana bayou town with his young daughter, Maddy (Izabela Vidovic), after busting a methproducing bikie gang by the name of The Outcasts. The gang's head honcho, Danny T (Chuck Zito), lost his son in a hail of police bullets during the bust and all this comes back to haunt Broker as he and Maddy cross paths with the town's local yokels, one of whom is Cassie (Kate Bosworth) a drug addict who's bully son is punched out by Maddy at school. And this will be the trigger for events to follow, as Cassie calls in a favour from brother and local drug dealer, Morgan 'Gator' Bodine (James Franco), asking him to teach Broker a lesson or two. Of course, neither of them are aware of Broker's background and thus, the snowball effect begins…

Homefront doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is; a straight down the line B-movie action thriller. But it's a cut above most of the usual fare, what with the name cast, solid production values and the fact that the screenplay (based on Chuck Logan's novel) is written by none other than Sylvester Stallone, who also serves as the film's coproducer. In fact, it may be because of Sly's involvement that it all feels like a bit of a throwback to action flicks of the 80's, though in a good way. There are echoes here from movies of that period, such as Road House, Next Of Kin, Commando and even earlier with Peckinpah's classic, Straw Dogs. In some ways, it actually feels like it could be a belated sequel to Schwarzenegger's Commando, albeit in reverse. Featuring wonderful widescreen cinematography by Theo Van De Sande and solid direction from Gary Fleder (Kiss The Girls, Runaway Jury), it's the performances that really sell Homefront. Statham does very admirable work here (whilst thankfully permitted to speak in his native Brit accent) and has probably never been this vulnerable on screen before. As daughter Maddy, young Izabela Vidovic is also very good and her scenes with Statham exhibit a real chemistry between the two. Their relationship is probably the heart and soul of the film. But, as is often the case, the villains in the piece are simply more interesting. As

he often does, James Franco brings a comic glint to his eye as Gator, with his whole performance feeling like a put-on, but a put-on because the character itself is a put-on, a small-time drug dealer who wants to be big. Statham and Franco only have a couple of scenes together, (Gator prefers to let others do his dirty work), but there is a real, palpable

tension between the two actors in a scene where they first meet. Great casting really, as they are both very different from each other as performers. But Franco never goes over the top, choosing instead to underplay, and he effectively conveys Gator's shifty, cunning (but

ultimately misplaced) intelligence. Kate Bosworth is quite remarkable as his sister, Cassie. She seems to have gone the full 'method' in her portrayal, looking rail thin, dirty and sweaty. She's terrific. Of the topbilled cast, only Winona Ryder seems to have been stuck without much of a character. As Gator's white trash girlfriend, Sheryl Mott, Ryder does what she can with the part, which is pretty much swear a lot and look, well… skanky. But to be fair, there is a sadness glimpsed occasionally in Sheryl and this could well be down to the actor playing her. Look out too for fine character work from the inimitable Clancy Brown as town sheriff Keith Rodrigue and Frank Grillo as hitman Cyrus Hanks.

To be honest, if one looks close enough, there are questionable plot points in Homefront, along with a tentative romantic thread that is ultimately left dangling. And admittedly there are similar films such as the recent Jack Reacher that have done it all a lot better. But this one only requires you to turn your brain off and enjoy the ride. Of its type, it's one of the better entries and very Solidly made.

The Disc
What we have here is an almost reference quality HD 1080p transfer, presented in the film's original widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1, which cinematographer Theo Van De Sande takes full advantage of. Every frame shines with pin sharp detail and vibrant colour. Blacks are excellently rendered, especially in the film's night time scenes. Overall, Roadshow's Blu-ray presentation is quite exemplary in the visual department. Subtitles are available and shown in different colours in order to differentiate who is speaking. Audio is of equal quality, which is just what we require for an action movie. The disc's DTS-HD MA 5.1 track rocks hard, with superb surround use and huge bottom end. Your subwoofer will get a mighty workout with this one. Dialogue is crystal clear and the great Mark Isham's score swells beautifully over the sound field. A 2.0 Dolby Digital surround track is also included, as well as an English descriptive narration track for the hard of hearing.

Extras consist of about 7 minutes worth of talking heads, with Stallone, Statham and Franco all participating. Plus, 3 deleted scenes (which are nothing special) and a 5 minute alternate ending which doesn't really build upon what has already been seen. Trailers for other Roadshow titles are also included.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
When it comes to action flicks, I'm quite the Jason Statham fan. I believe he is the best contemporary male action star, with a believable, natural screen presence on top of his already obvious hand-to-hand combat skills. For my money, Homefront is one of his best outings, and though Roadshow's Blu-ray is lacking in the special features department, the audio/visual quality of the disc is excellent. Recommended for Statham fans and action flick enthusiasts who yearn for days gone by.
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