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Director misses the point with botched B-movie ‘Homefront’

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Sylvester Stallone wrote the screenplay for Homefront and James Franco (pictured) and Winona Ryder are the villains, yet something went wrong.
Jeffrey M. Anderson

Two and a half stars

Homefront Jason Statham, James Franco, Winona Ryder. Directed by Gary Fleder. Rated R. Now playing.

With scowling, British buzzsaw Jason Statham as the hero, and madcap James Franco and trashy Winona Ryder as the villains, plus a screenplay by none other than Sylvester Stallone—who once received an Oscar nomination for writing a certain screenplay—Homefront had the ingredients to be solid backwoods B-movie entertainment.

It starts with a very satisfying school playground tussle. Widower and ex-DEA agent Phil Broker (Statham) has tried to disappear with his daughter in a small Louisiana town. His daughter punches a school bully, which leads to the bully’s uncle, Gator (Franco), being called in to even things up. This, of course, escalates to a huge feud, with a lunatic shoot-out and chase.

Unfortunately, somebody hired director Gary Fleder (Kiss the Girls, Runaway Jury), and he completely misses the point. Statham’s snappily choreographed fights are now hacked to pieces with hundreds of edits, and the movie’s ridiculous coincidences and plot devices are treated not with glee, but with an indifferent, grim resolve.

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  • The brisk pacing is the sole improvement over the meandering, overlong original.

  • Nicole Kidman stars as the titular American actress-turned-princess in the flick, which airs on Lifetime this week.

  • The flick is more interested in telling the audience about the importance of fun than in actually having any.

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