25 nov. 2014

Homefront (4/10): Next time let Jason Statham unleash the beast!

"Whatever you're thinking, rethink it."

I can't think of a better actor to deliver a line in a menacing, yet calm way, than Jason Statham does here.  He is one of the contemporary action stars that audiences will go see without hesitation or worrying about the screenplay. The reason is because there are very few actors that can deliver their fight scenes as well as he does. Audiences can feel every punch or kick from Statham without the need of quick edits or shaky camera movements. Unfortunately, the main problem with Homefront is that director Gary Fleder (Kiss the Girls, Runaway Jury) didn't use his action skills as a means to improve the movie, but rather sticked to the usual way of filming action scenes which involve quick edits, extreme close-ups, and shaky camera movements. Why would you have Statham star in your film if you don't take advantage of his well choreographed action scenes? The few action scenes in Homefront could have been shot with a steady camera and less cuts which would have made this a much more enjoyable watch because Statham has a great screen presence and he's always fun to watch. It's too bad that they decided to hold Statham's character back and didn't let him explode on screen. 

Homefront's screenplay was adapted by Sylvester Stallone from Chuck Logan's novel. Sly had intended to use the story for another Rambo sequel, but decided to put it into Statham's hands instead. The premise of the story is very familiar as you have the main character moving to a small town in order to put his violent past behind him (if you think about it, it is what Rambo has always been trying to do, but somehow he's a magnet for violence). Homefront is just another standard action film that follows pretty much every genre convention so it becomes way too familiar to enjoy it as something other than that, but the problem is that Fleder tries to make a more serious film instead of accepting the fact that it is simply a silly and familiar story. By trying to build character and move the story forward, the film loses its steam because it doesn't accomplish neither and ultimately it drags for most of its runtime. The few action scenes aren't entertaining either because of all the hyper editing going on. The film tries to build character and introduce new elements but it doesn't do it well. Take the romance for instance which is introduced, but it never goes anywhere with the subplots it introduces. We know exactly where everything is leading up to so the least you can do is explode Statham's potential instead of underlying his performance. 

Despite the familiar story and the hyper edited action scenes there are some positive elements to Homefront. First of all the cast is solid. Besides Jason Statham, you have James Franco, Kate Bosworth, Winona Ryder, and Frank Grillo starring together. James Franco plays a very different villain. He is a local meth kingpin who goes by the name of Gator. He might be intimidating in his small local town, but we know he is no match for Jason Statham. There isn't a second in this film where we feel Statham's character is in real danger and all we are waiting for is for him to let his rage loose. The small grudges that the people in this town hold are about to be blown out of proportions and they will soon find out that they are completely out of his league. The second positive thing about this film is Kate Bosworth's performance. She is almost unrecognizable in her role here, but she delivers the best performance of the movie. If your a fan, you will want to check this film out, if not then there isn't anything worth your time in Homefront.


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