By Megan Bianco
Three decades ago, action star Sylvester Stallone wrote himself a starring role in an adaptation of Chuck Logan’s book Homefront. The film was dropped for various reasons, but a year ago, action star Jason Statham saw potential in the story. This holiday season, Stallone, Statham and director Gary Fleder give Homefront a new life, but in an uninspired way.
After retiring from the police force, Phil Broker (Statham) and his young daughter Susan (Rachelle Lefevre) move to a suburban Louisiana town to begin anew. When Susan gets into a fight with a school bully, Phil soon realizes the bully’s mother, Cassie (Kate Bosworth), doesn’t forgive easily. Life gets turned around when Phil eventually is pushed between Cassie, her meth cook brother Gator (James Franco) and his biker-groupie girlfriend Sheryl (Winona Ryder) and has to protect Susan from harm.
Franco and Ryder—two of today’s more versatile and intriguing actors—being outshined by the often forgettable Bosworth says much about Homefront’s ineffectiveness.
In great films, especially action movies, suspension of disbelief makes it possible for viewers to set aside reality and, for the sake of the story, believe the unbelievable.
But Homefront has a number of sequences that define “far-fetched,” making it almost impossible to buy into. On top of the unintentionally campy scenes, the dialogue is corny. Stallone, Statham, Franco and Ryder are four memorable screen presences, but they could have used a retake with this one.