Jason Statham may not always appear in the best movies, but he’s consistently a pleasure to watch, what with his East London accent, stoic demeanor and signature shaved head. His latest, “Homefront,” would benefit from more of the martial-arts combat for which he is popular — fans really just want to watch the dude kick butt — but he’s paired with a precocious adolescent daughter and an adorable kitten that only accentuate his charm.
Adapted from Chuck Logan’s novel with liberal poetic license by scribe Sylvester Stallone, who originally intended to star himself before passing the baton to his “Expendables” co-star, this Gary Fleder-directed thriller casts Statham as onetime Interpol and DEA agent Phil Broker, who secrets off to the Louisiana bayou for a quiet life with his daughter, Maddy (Izabela Vidovic). Unfortunately, she uses the self-defense techniques her daddy taught her on the wrong bully at school — the nephew of local meth kingpin Gator Bodine (James Franco, bringing shades of humanity to the backwater villain), who alerts the biker gang with which Broker was once undercover as to his current whereabouts.
Kate Bosworth (virtually unrecognizable as Bodine’s junkie sister), Winona Ryder as a biker groupie and other familiar faces in supporting roles bring cachet to an otherwise contemporary B-movie Western with designs on stylistic flair, as editor Pat McKinley’s jagged seams of scenes overlap intriguingly.
MPAA rating: R for strong violence, pervasive language, drug content and brief sexuality
Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Playing: In general release