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Homefront

by Giovanni Fazio

Sylvester Stallone must really like Jason Statham, his co-star from “The Expendables” series, because in “Homefront” Sly has given him the lead in a script he had originally written for himself. Or maybe he is just feeling his age these days and slowing down. Not likely, but this film is classic 1980s action in the Stallone mode.

Statham stars as undercover DEA agent Phil Broker, who stings a biker gang in the first act, leaving its leader hauled off to jail, screaming for revenge. Fast forward two years, and Broker has quietly and anonymously retired with his 9-year-old daughter Maddy (Izabela Vidovic) in a small Louisiana bayou town. A schoolyard incident between Maddy and a bully quickly escalates into trouble with the local meth-head rednecks (Kate Bosworth, James Franco, Winona Ryder), which gets even worse when they discover Broker’s past.

Not the most original premise — the small-town home invasion by demented, inbred locals is pure “Straw Dogs” — but it’s tense enough. Bosworth is unrecognizably tweaked out and grungy-looking, and when Statham slugs someone, you sure believe they’d go down. Statham also belongs more to the Clint Eastwood school of cool than his mentor Stallone, which is another plus.