Blu-ray Review “Homefront”

Starring: James Franco, Jason Statham, Rachelle Lefevre, Winona Ryder, Frank Grillo, Kate Bosworth
Director: Gary Fleder
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Universal Studios
DVD Release Date: March 11, 2014
Running Time: 100 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1 out of 5 stars

“Homefront” isn’t a bad film. It is action packed and was able to keep me interested the entire film. But I just wasn’t blown away. The film is adapted from the Chuck Logan novel of the same name by the one and only Sylvester Stallone. It definitely has that 90’s kick-ass action feel to it that Stallone has been trying to bring back. The cast is definitely impressive though including Jason Statham, James Franco, Winona Ryder and Kate Bosworth. I love Franco in the bad-guy role. Statham does what Statham does best…plays Statham. Action fans should check out for nostalgia purposes but otherwise this will not be for everyone.

Official Premise: Widowed ex-DEA agent Phil Broker (Statham) retires to a quiet Southern town with his 10-year-old daughter and discovers that the idyllic setting is riddled with drugs and violence. When a riveting chain of events forces him to face off with psychotic local drug lord Gator Bodine (Franco), Broker must retaliate using the fearsome skills he hoped to keep in his past.

Despite the film, Universal delivered an impressive Blu-ray combo pack including a Blu-ray + DVD + HD Digital UltraViolet copy. The 1080p transfer really captures that 90’s feel to it, while looking quite sharp especially with the action sequences. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track also sounded awesome for this film and really gave my surround sound a solid workout. Things don’t get much better in the special features department for this release. There are a few short deleted scenes included, one of them being extended ending. Lastly there is a short promo called “Standoff”. Nothing here of value at all.

Film Review “Homefront”

Starring: Jason Statham, James Franco, Kate Bosworth, Winona Ryder.
Directed by: Gary Fleder
Rated: R
Runtime: 1 hr 40 mins
Open Road

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Plenty of action and an ending you see coming in the first 20 minutes doesn’t take away from the adrenaline packed thrill ride that Jason Statham’s new film, “Homefront,” takes you on.

Phil Broker (Statham) is a former undercover DEA agents who’s cover was blown. He is now in hiding with a false identity and raising a young daughter in Louisiana. They are living a peaceful and quiet life until his daughter sticks up for herself on the playground and bloodies the school bully’s nose. It is this act that straps you in for the rollercoaster ride to come. Her actions bring along a feud that grows between the bully’s strung out mother Cassie Bodine (Bosworth), her brother Gator (Franco) and Broker. Brother Gator is a big fish in a small pond, making his living as the town’s main meth manufacturer and dealer. He’s large and in charge and those in authority, even the local Sheriff (Clancy Brown), are in his corner. His only beef with Broker comes when his sister, upset her son got his butt whipped by a girl, asks him to “scare” Broker. In fact, it is the volatile relationship between Franco and Bosworth that is the underlying antagonist of the film. Wanting to keep his sister happy, Gator obliges, breaks in to Broker’s house and discovers his undercover police reports. His true identity uncovered, Broker and his daughter now find themselves on the run from a group that includes Gator, his girlfriend (Ryder) and the gang of bikers that originally blew Broker’s cover.

Written by Sylvester Stallone, this is the rare film that packs plenty of action around an actual story line. Before the film started, I wrote down the four things that I figured I, and the majority of the people who go see this film, should probably expect to see;

1. Trouble Finds Good Guy,
2. There will be shooting,
3. There will be multiple chase scenes; on foot, by car, by boat, etc..
4. Good guy gets last laugh.

After the film I glanced at the list and can happily say I wasn’t disappointed. If you want to see Jason Statham, a real action star, kick some real ass than this is the film for you.

Ashley Bell talks about roles in "The Last Exorcism Part 2" and "The Marine 3: Homefront"

We last spoke with Ashley Bell for her first starring role in “The Last Exorcism”, read it here.  Since then Ashley has been taking over the action genre with strong female roles in films like “The Day” and recently in “The Marine 3: Homefront”.  Ashley is also returning to her role of Nell Sweetzer in “The Last Exorcism Part 2” this month.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Ashley again about her passion for these roles and how she enjoys performing her own stunts.

Mike Gencarelli: Did you get involved with “The Marine 3: Homefront” due to your connection with WWE Studios from “The Day”?
Ashley Bell: Yes very much so. Because WWE Studios acquired “The Day” from Toronto Film Festival, it put me on their radar. In talking with them after the release, they wanted to see if I would be interested in working on “The Marine 3: Homefront”. I read the script for the character of Lilly and the role really spoke to me.

MG: What was it about Lilly that drew you to the role?
AB: What I love about Lilly is that even though she is a hostage character she doesn’t give up…she fights. She is more of a wild card. Even if she is retrained with handcuffs, she is searching for the air holes  looking to get out and trying to fight back. I really like that determined spirit that she has. Also in reading Scott Wiper’s script, a lot my scenes are opposite Neal McDonough as well as Mike (‘The Miz’ Mizanin). But Neal is such an incredible actor. There is no one that plays a villain like Neal McDonough. Here is a terrorist but when you first hear him speak he almost makes sense…until he takes it over the top and then you know you are in trouble. I like the arguments that were being fought for – insurance and saving your home and family. So, yes I like the script for sure.

MG: You seem like an actor that isn’t afraid to get out there and get her hands dirty, am I right?
AB: Absolutely! That is when it gets fun for me! If I am not bruised or have some kind of a war wound…then I have not done my job [laughs].

MG: What do you enjoy about performing your own stunts in the action scenes?
AB: Coming from the first “The Last Exorcism”, which I did all my own physicality. Luckily, the roles I am doing now allow me to do my own stunts and going into action. That is really excited for me because I really love action movies! Like I mentioned with these strong female characters. I actually learned Muay Thai for “The Day” and I loved that training. It is just a wonderful form of exercise and I keep it up. Thank God, I did because it takes a lot of stamina in order to be on an action set, which for me is fun. n “The Marine 3”, you see this abandoned cruise ship which has been there for years and that is how it actually looked. It was all rust over and we were doing take after take running down the corridors, up and down the stairs, gun fire going off, explosions, cars are blowing up…and this was what I daydreamed off when I was a kid with my Nerf gun in my tree house.

MG: I got to tell you the the passion is literally coming right out of your mouth. It sounds like you had a blast.
AB: Well, I really did. I really hope I get to continue action since it is a lot of fun for me.

MG: Going from action packed to horror, tell us what we can expect from “The Last Exorcism Part 2”?
AB: This is the continuation of Nell’s story. Here is a girl that is completely shell-shocked from what happened to her. She doesn’t remember what happened at all, she is very vulnerable and shut out from the world. She is drawn out into New Orleans during Mardi Gras and she has to choose between good and evil. I agree do all my own physicality for this one as well. If you have seen the trailer, I do a levitating back bend and I have the stress fracture to prove it [laughs].

MG: After this film are you going to but a “no back-bend  clause in your contract [laughs]?
AB: [laughs] I know right. It is a stress fracture not trauma fracture. I was funny since I panicked when I heard this since I love working out. I love my Muay Thai lessons and taking ballet. So I was afraid I was going to have to stop working out. My doctor actually told me that the cure for something like this is to really build up your core muscles and to actually continue work out. So it hasn’t affected me at all.

MG: How was it for you returning to the character Nell this time around?
AB: It was very different actually. The character of Nell is completely broken. For this script, I was putting her back together and in doing so there was a lot of pieces missing and that is where the devil comes in! And that is where there are scares! Also there is also a different director on board, so it has a very, to be be redundant, different feel than the first one. It was a very new Nell.

MG: You’ve got action, horror – what do you have in the cards next?
AB: Well I am really happy to announce, I have also have a romantic comedy coming out. It is called “The Bounceback” and it is going to be premiering at SXSW 2013.