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Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 3/11/2014
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 3/3/2014
While watching Homefront, my wife asked, "Where did Jason Statham come from?". I replied, "I ask that every time I watch one of his movies.", as he seemingly came out of nowhere. When one checks his bio, they see that he was a competitive diver and has training in kickboxing, but it's not the "former athlete" or "professional martial artist" tags which one would expect. Statham appeared in some Guy Ritchie movies and suddenly got a starring role in 2002's The Transporter. From there, he's appeared in a long line of action films in which he's either the star or part of an ensemble. The thing with Statham is that he's the perfect fit for certain roles, and problems arise when producers try to stick him somewhere which doesn't belong. Let's see how he adapts to Homefront.
As Homefront opens, DEA Agent Phil Broker (Statham) is deep undercover in New Orleans with a motorcycle gang, lead by Danny T (Chuck Zito), which is dealing meth. As the big bust occurs, Danny's son, Jojo (Linds Edwards), is killed, and Danny vows revenge. Following this, Phil retires from the job and moves to a small town along with his young daughter, Maddy (Izabela Vidovic). While at school, Maddy gets into tussle with a classmate. That boy's mother, Cassie (Kate Bosworth), goes ballistic, and Phil finds himself taking her husband, Jimmy (Marcus Hester), to the ground. Angry and humiliated, Cassie asks her brother, Gator (James Franco), to harass the Brokers. Gator, who also manufactures meth, breaks into Phil's house and learns about the man's past. Gator suddenly sees an opportunity to make friends in low places and accelerate his business.
Homefront is based on a 2005 novel from author Chuck Logan, whose name is not familiar to me. The name which is familiar is Sylvester Stallone, who is credited with the screenplay adaptation and, according to rumor, wanted this story to be another chapter in the Rambo saga. Having seen the film, this is easy to imagine, as the story certainly falls in line with the ideas from First Blood, as we have a well-trained man who just wants to be left alone, but he finds himself being hassled by the locals. Of course, Broker isn't just like John Rambo, as he has a daughter and he finds himself attracted to a school psychologist (Rachelle Lefevre). So, the true loner aspect aside, we can see this being a Rambo movie.
Of course, we can also see this being essentially any other action movie as well. From the outset, Homefront is incredibly pedestrian and predictable. The film honestly seems scared to try anything truly unique and it sticks to the most standard of formulas. I'm sure at one point in time the crystal meth angle would have seemed original, but in our post-Breaking Bad world, meth seems very old hat. The movie does offer the unique twist of having the whole feud being kicked off by a spat between two school-children. Otherwise, this could be a facsimile of any cable action movie.
The only where the movie gets weird is in the casting. To answer our earlier question, Jason Statham does not fit in this role. Astute viewers will notice that on two occasions, they show Broker's Interpol ID in hopes of explaining why someone with such an inscrutable accent would be a part of the DEA. It seems really weird that no one in the small Louisiana town mentions Broker's accent. As usual, Statham is fine at the action parts of the role, but things fall flat when he needs to emote and show his affection towards his daughter. (While we are on the topic, why is it in movies like this that someone in law enforcement is automatically a mater in hand-to-hand combat. Something tells me this doesn't translate to real life.) And in the role of the villain, we have a decidedly lethargic James Franco. As we all know, Franco can't say no to anything and it seems like a good experiment to have him play the bad guy. But, he tries to hard to make Gator complicated. At first, it simply seems that he's spying on Broker as a favor to his sister. But, as the movie progresses, he gets more and more violent and crazy, to the point that it doesn't make any sense.
Homefront comes from Director Gary Fleder, whose filmography cover many different genres. I suppose that he seemed like a good choice to mix the action and family issues, but he does little to make the movie stand out from the crowd. Obviously, Statham completists will want to check this out, as will those who love to see Franco play as many different roles as possible. Everyone else shouldn't bother going out of their way to track this one down. Simply watch your favorite action movie, as it's probably doing everything which you would see in Homefront.
Homefront passes the ASPCA test on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc carries an AVC 1080p HD which runs at an average of 30 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no notable grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look very good, most notably greens and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is notable and the depth is very good. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 30 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects show good separation and we get individual sounds coming from the left and right. The surround sound effects are good as well, and they are individualized, not simply mimicking sounds coming from the front channels. The subwoofer effects really kick in during the finale, most notably from the explosions.
The Homefront Blu-ray Disc contains only two extras. "Standoff" (3 minutes) is basically a trailer intercut with comments from Director Gary Fleder, Statham, Franco, and Stallone where they describe the plot and characters. The Disc contains five DELETED SCENES which run about 9 minutes. Four of the five are simply longer versions of scenes from the finished film, while the fifth is an alternate ending which wraps up some loose ends.
Review Copyright 2014 by Mike Long