Phil Broker (Jason Statham) only wants to be left alone to raise Maddy (Izabela Vidovic) in Homefront.

Phil Broker (Jason Statham) only wants to be left alone to raise Maddy (Izabela Vidovic) in Homefront.

REEL REVIEWS: Statham shows his killer smile

Action star Jason Statham stretches out his wings, at least for a few seconds in new film Homefront.

  • Dec. 8, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Single dad and former DEA agent Phil Broker (Jason Statham) moves with his nine-year-old daughter to a small town in America’s south.

When his daughter gets into trouble at school for defending herself against a bully, the bully’s parents decide to put Broker on their enemies list. Unfortunately for Broker, the bully’s family includes the town’s meth dealer (James Franco) who happens to know the incarcerated leader of the biker gang that Broker arrested during his last, big undercover case.

Unfortunately for all the bad guys in this town, Broker is a man who takes no guff.

We say, “Stratham stretches out his wings, at least for a few seconds.”

TAYLOR: I would like to point out the difference between our description of Homefront above and the storyline as told by the producers, which states: “A former DEA agents moves to a small town where he soon tangles with a local meth druglord.”

The reason being that the film’s plot would simply fall apart without the old fashioned stupidity of rednecks.

Broker’s little girl gives a bully a bloody nose and all of a sudden it’s the Montagues and Capulets (or perhaps more rightly, the Hatfields and McCoys.) By the end of the film many people end up dead. It’s not that I don’t believe they died for no reason (they are, after all, in a Statham movie,) it’s just that the entire time people are behaving badly in this film, all the bystanders shrug, saying “Well, that’s just the way things are in these here parts…”

At moments, this film feels like it belongs in the old west, when justice was a little more interpretive.

HOWE: In the ‘80s and ‘90s we had a whole host of action actors: Van Damme, Norris and Seagal, all of whom were terrible actors but were good at what they do best, which is ensure plenty of serious bottom kicking. Now in the last decade we have seen the emergence of a new breed of action hero. I’m not saying they’re Oscar winning actors, but they at least give their characters some personality.

TAYLOR: This was one area that impressed me. Statham seems to be growing as an actor, or at least trying. In Homefront, Statham is an action hero, to be sure, but wants to be an everyman, taking care of his daughter, whom he obviously cares for very much. This caring everyman comes through in the high number of smiles and emotive eyes he shares with the other, non-combative characters in the film. Granted, it only amounts to about 20 seconds of the film, but those 20 seconds provide us with a never before seen glimpse of Statham’s acting ability.

HOWE: It reminds me a lot of the movie Road House, where the lead character doesn’t want any trouble, but when trouble finds him he deals with it in his own special way. If you fancy a good ol’ fashion fisticuffs movie, then you could do a lot worse than Homefront.

Taylor gives Homefront 3 solid minutes of the F word out of 5.

Howe gives it 3 Statham smiles out of 5.

The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

— Peter Howe and Brian Taylor are film reviewers based in Vernon, B.C.