Homefront Review: Winona Steals the Show

I never thought I’d see the day when Winona Ryder would steal a movie right out from under Jason Statham and James Franco, but we live in interesting times. Homefront, scripted by Sylvester Stallone (or should that be “Academy Award–winning screenwriter Sylvester Stallone”?) and directed by Gary Fleder, is a thoroughly boilerplate bayou actioner, with one notable feature. It’s got good villains – nasty, delirious, stupid villains, among them Franco and Ryder – and for that it’s almost worth seeing. Almost.

(…)Broker’s attempts to start a new life and keep a low profile unravel when his daughter gets picked on at school and winds up demonstrating some of the moves dad taught her. Soon enough, Broker is all a-tangle with the bully’s family, which includes Gator (Franco), a meth dealer who wants to expand his operation beyond the confines of this hillbilly backwater, and Gator’s angry biker-groupie girlfriend, Sheryl (Ryder). They’re the couple from hell, but they have dimension. Gator has a certain white-trash snottiness – early on, we see him chasing away teenage tweakers and scoffing at the low quality of their product. But it’s Sheryl that we’re truly fascinated by. A pissy, beautiful harridan who seems to know the right thing to do but is incapable of ever doing it, she obviously hates the idea of having to consort with bikers and meth heads, but tolerates it if it gets her what she wants. But what does she actually want? How did she wind up here? Who is this woman? Unfortunately, the film shows no interest in answering these questions; I’m not even entirely sure what happened to her at the end.

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