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Originally published Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 12:12 AM

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‘Homefront’: the usual gruff, rough stuff from Jason Statham

A two-star movie review of “Homefront,” a by-the-numbers action picture starring Jason Statham as a former undercover drug agent and James Franco as a meth kingpin.

Special to The Seattle Times

Movie Review 2 stars

‘Homefront,’ with Jason Statham, Izabela Vidovic, James Franco, Kate Bosworth. Directed by Gary Fleder, from a screenplay by Sylvester Stallone, based on a novel by Chuck Logan. 100 minutes. Rated R for strong violence, pervasive language, drug content and brief sexuality. Several theaters.

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Comedian Patton Oswalt wrote a great blog post about Statham a few years back. Please... MORE


Clearly, villains in Jason Statham movies don’t go to Jason Statham movies. If they did, they would know that “villain in a Jason Statham movie” is not a job any sane person would ever want.

For Jason Statham movie villains, breaks and bleeds are guaranteed. Pain and screams are inevitable. So it is in “Homefront,” a picture that could more tellingly be titled “More of the Same.”

As usual, the villains here are scroungy lowlifes — bikers and meth heads — with unsightly facial hair and limited vocabularies. The limits are defined by variations of a certain four-letter obscenity screeched at the tops of evildoer lungs.

These villains exist solely to try to put the Big Hurt on Statham. Always a bad policy.

His character, played in his customary one-note gruff-Gus style, is a former undercover drug agent who quits the force and seeks to start a new life of safety and obscurity in a tiny Louisiana backwater. Oh, and he’s also the doting widower daddy of a sweet young daughter (Izabela Vidovic). Uh oh.

You cringe when director Gary Fleder shows the kid tenderly holding a cute stuffed bunny. Can terrible stuffed-animal torture be far behind? Yes. Can you say “child endangerment”? Sigh, yes.

The script is by Sylvester Stallone, so it’s probably no surprise that “Homefront” is a by-the-numbers actioner. Sunny family-bonding scenes of Statham and the kid riding horses or having soulful heart-to-hearts in lovely, woodsy surroundings are alternated with bruise-blue scenes of bad guys plotting bad deeds.

At the direction of the lead bad guy, a meth dealer played by James Franco with an unpleasant sneer, assorted thugs try to get into Statham’s face. Naturally, he breaks their faces and other body parts. Things escalate. Bullets fly. The kid is menaced. There’s hell to pay.

As I said: “More of the Same.”

Soren Andersen:

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