Angry dad wins hearts

Angry dad wins hearts
Homefront starring Jason Statham and Izabela Vidovic.

Review Thriller

HOMEFRONT (M18)

100 minutes/Opens tomorrow / ***½

The story: Former drug agency officer Phil Broker (Jason Statham) retires to a small Louisiana town with his daughter Maddy (Izabela Vidovic) to live a quiet life.

An incident at Maddy's school results in a confrontation with the volatile Cassie (Kate Bosworth), sister of meth kingpin Gator (James Franco).

The war of words between the two families soon escalates into deadly conflict. Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Chuck Logan.

For a formula movie with zero surprises in the plot, this slab of Southern-fried revenge thriller is remarkably enjoyable.

This is mainly due to the cast never giving the impression that they are slumming, despite the script being based on what is essentially an airport bookshop paperback.

But if this story of a lone hero standing up to a criminal gang feels familiar, note the name of the co-producer and screenwriter: Sylvester Stallone.

He was to play the male lead, but a packed schedule caused him to offer it to the English actor.

Here, Statham does what he does best: bringing the hammer down on bad guys.

But he also finds a comfortable groove playing a contented single dad before bad guys, as they so often do in Stallone movies, force him to become a hillbilly-hacking one-man-army.

There is real sensitivity in Statham's scenes with Vidovic (as daughter Maddy).

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