Aside from the occasional rarity Jason Statham’s movies are remarkably consistent, hovering between barely worthwhile and barely not worthwhile. This is known to me at least, as the ‘Statham Range’. Somehow this averages out to me automatically checking out every one, because they’ll either be good or near enough.
But there are so many, and a couple years ago at least one, perhaps two, of Statham’s films underwent title changes, and I simply lost track. I thought HomeFront was AKA Hummingbird, or Redemption, or Blitz, or… you get the picture.
In HomeFront Statham plays Broker, an ex-FBI undercover agent who retires after a high profile, high impact sting goes wrong (to the extent that no less than 37 ‘stay down’ bullets are fired into the chest of someone already under arrest).
Broker heads down to the Deep South, where someone can wear a baseball cap and blend in, live near the bayou in a big old house, and where the law is more flexible and permitting. It is the last point that causes issues when Broker’s cute daughter draws unwanted attention from profane and confrontational firebrand (Kate Bosworth), and by extension her brother and local meth kingpin Gator (James Franco) and his girl Sheryl (Winona Ryder).
Broker deren’t want no trubble, but when his initial request to ‘let it go’ falls on deaf ears and results in just more violence, and the unfortunate realisation of his true identity in – it must be said – ridiculously unlikely circumstances;
Honey, did you pack away the information that we desperately want everyone else not to know, or did you leave it lying about in full view for strangers wandering through our home to chance upon?
In any case this brings the attention of an even nastier biker drug gang fronted by a heavily tattooed Frank Grillo, one that sees beating someone down with a baseball bat as a mere entrée.
Consider the ante officially ‘upped’.
As with most films near the top end of the ‘Statham Range’, HomeFront has three and a bit setpieces that permit Statham to lay the smack down. Less than two invariably results in sub-Statham fare, three or more is generally the entry point for plus-Statham.
While acting is rarely a primary element to gauging your Statham Range, the acting here is pretty good, with both Statham and Franco exhibiting a pulse not always present in their normal roles, and Ryder and Bosworth having obvious fun with some extremely skanky characters. It seems also that the Deep South adds extra flavour to any action film, with the sweat beading and the humidity having people on edge before it is called for.
I might have missed HomeFront first go around, and now that I have seen it I can say that it is at the upper end of the ‘Statham Range’, meaning I am permitted to be moderately chagrined for not seeing it sooner. But no more than that.
Final Rating – 7 / 10. Statham does… what he does… adequately… again.