Leon van Nierop
2 minute read
6 Dec 2013
6:00 am

Homefront is Statham-lite

Leon van Nierop

Jason Statham may be the most accessible and best action star of the new wave of films in that genre.

Still of Winona Ryder, Jason Statham and James Franco in Homefront (2013)

He is sensitive yet macho, there is always a thought process behind the brawn and in most of his films, characterisation takes preference over mindless blood-spilling action. There is none of the Schwarzenegger monotone or the Stallone inaudible drawl-and-drone style of acting. And he is about the only action star that looks as good in a tuxedo as in the ring.

The scripts for his films are unfortunately not always up to standard or worthy of his talents; one wishes that he would venture into another genre and prove that he is a fine actor without reverting to fist fights.

Homefront is Jason Statham-lite as he portrays a kind-hearted, friendly father who suddenly explodes into a volcano of machismo and underused testosterone when crossed. In this film, Statham plays the part of a former DEA agent who moves his daughter (an excellent debut by Izabela Vidovic) to a quiet town. But as we know from Straw Dogs and the iconic A Town Without Pity, small towns can hide excessive violence, betrayal, brutal secrets and extreme racial prejudice coupled with xenophobia.

Still of James Franco in Homefront (2013)

Still of James Franco in Homefront (2013)

So soon the ugly oafs with the egg-infested stubble, bad breath and kick-ass attitude cross Statham’s path. He doesn’t want to fight – another cliché always found in these films – but is forced to break a few jaws and rearrange some hideous faces while teaching his daughter to ride a horse properly (an incredible balancing act).

What makes this film slightly more interesting than the run-of-the-mill action caper is Sylvester Stallone’s name in the credits. He is the scriptwriter, and as he proved with the original Rocky, he knows how to write action and smart one-liners. Stallone and Statham make a good combination, and it might be this that attracted James Franco and Winona Ryder, who are cast against type. Their performances support this exciting action film well.