63°
A shower
WED
 74°
 55°
THU
 79°
 55°
FRI
 79°
 53°
SAT
 81°
 53°
SUN
 80°
 53°

Movie preview:

The ham-fisted script, based on a novel by Chuck Logan, was written some years ago by none other than Sylvester Stallone as a prospective final chapter to the Rambo saga. The way it's turned out here is more reminiscent of some bad good-ol'-boy 1976 melodrama that could have starred Jan-Michael Vincent and Joe Don Baker and involved rednecks mightily suspicious of the outsider who's come to live in their midst.

The boiler-plate opening action scene isn't bad, as undercover DEA agent Phil Broker (Statham in a wig) spearheads a bust of a big city drug lab. The whole joint blows up and when the big boss is led away by the cops, he gets off a promise to Broker that sets the tone for most of the film's dialogue: "Your kids are f--- dead."

A couple of years later, Broker is living with his bright young 10-year-old daughter Maddy (Isabela Vidovic) in rural Rayville, La. Her mother having died the year before, Maddy has been receiving self-defense tips from her macho Dad, and while he's trying to figure out whether to settle on an East End or Southern accent, she retaliates to bullying from a schoolyard fatso by punching him out.

Fatso's skinny mother Cassie (Kate Bosworth) doesn't cotton to this at all, even though her kid started it, and when she can't get her no-account husband (Frank Grillo) to exact justice, she sics her brother Gator on Broker, which means trouble since Gator is the meanest and wiliest creature in the bayou as well as its most prolific drug dealer.

Since his house sits vulnerably in the middle of nowhere and the locals clearly haven't been taught how to let go of a grudge — "Can't you go over there and do something!?" Cassie screams at her brother — Broker mans up and apologizes for his daughter's brutality. The down-home boys respond to this gentlemanliness by repeatedly trying to beat Broker up. This results in a succession of fight scenes — always with multiple guys ganging up on him — so incoherently staged and shot that you don't even get a clear view of Statham doing what he does best, which is to roll his kick-boxing, martial arts and punching skills into entertainingly bone-crunching mayhem.

Stallone's milking of the child endangerment angle is shameless with Cassie and her clan blowing everything preposterously out of proportion just to create a melodramatic threat that will rouse Broker to action. Most of the baddies are such bottom-feeders that you know they pose no real threat and that includes Winona Ryder's former biker girl who gets roped into the plot against the two interlopers.

Homefront is sufficiently silly and low-down to be entertaining on a certain marginal level, but it wouldn't appear that those involved, with the possible exception of Franco, approached this with the idea that they might be making good trash; it looks too elaborate and costly for that and the script exhibits no self-aware humor. So when real peril arrives for Broker and Maddy, it just feels as though the computer has rotely delivered the pre-programmed climactic scenes that have been indicated from close to the beginning.


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