By Kurt Jensen
Catholic News Service
NEW YORK (CNS) — The 100-minute curse-athon that is "Homefront" (Open Road) combines the violent tropes of a meth drama with tender scenes of domestic life to less than compelling effect.
With a screenplay by Sylvester Stallone adapted from the novel by Chuck Logan, you expect more gunfire than monosyllabic dialogue, plus caricatures of bad guys. Check and check.
Everyone except for 10-year-old Maddy (Izabela Vidovic), the little girl central to the family plotline, has a limited vocabulary spewed at high speed — and oppressively high volume.
Action star Jason Statham plays Phil Broker, a recently widowed DEA agent who’s trying to move on, daughter Maddy in tow, to a quieter life amidst the horses, cypress trees and waterways of rural Louisiana. Phil’s last undercover operation in Shreveport, targeting a biker gang, ended badly with the death of their ringleader’s son. Grieving dad’s now imprisoned, vowing revenge.
Phil’s never far from a bubbling meth lab. In his new hometown, where Maddy strains to fit in with the local kids, it’s operated by drawling thug Gator Bodine (James Franco).
Gator learns of Phil’s background and, with the help of his girlfriend, Sheryl (Winona Ryder), sets up a climactic battle with the bikers during which Maddy is held hostage.
Other potty-mouthed Cajuns under the direction of Gary Fleder include Cassie (Kate Bosworth), Gator’s meth-addicted sister, whose mottled family life and parenting skills affect Maddy on the school playground.
The film contains pervasive bloody violence, a brief, semi-graphic scene of nonmarital sexual activity, drug use, fleeting profanities and relentless rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.
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Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.