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Home Is Where The Kicking Is!

homefront-movie-review-jason-stathamHOMEFRONT (2013

Directed by: Gary Fleder

Starring: Jason Statham, Izabela Vidovic, Winona Ryder, Kate Bosworth, Clancy Brown, James Franco

Plot: An ex-DEA guy moves to a quiet town with his daughter and runs afoul of some meth dealing rednecks and killer bikers who are just dying to get their asses kicked because the ex-DEA guy is Jason Statham!

Rating: R for bad language, a little sex, meth cooking, and a glorious amount of kicking and punching!

I’ve never been to New Orleans, so I don’t know much about it. I know they celebrate Mardi Gras, shiny beads are valued currency, and vomiting in the streets is encouraged.

New Orleans is in Louisiana, another place I know very little about except from what I’ve learned from the various movies I have seen.  According to action/thriller type movies Louisiana is one giant swamp. Seriously, the swamp is everywhere! Also, just about everyone in Louisiana lives along the swamp in a decrepit old shack with a rickety porch. Rich people live in giant mansions or plantations that are pretty but still in a swamp, so they’re “swamp pretty.” Oh, and there are alligators everywhere, because in the opening credits of every movie set in Louisiana they have a shot of a giant gator slithering into a murky swamp.  But the most important thing I’ve learned about Louisiana from the movies is that the people who live there are vicious bunch of greasy loons who don’t own shirts with sleeves that really hate you and want to kill you.

And I thought New Jersey was unpleasant in spots.

Okay, I’m sure the real life Louisiana is a wonderful place. But movie Louisiana is a rough and terrifying place, especially if you’re Jason Statham and you just moved into town with your daughter like in the movie Homefront.  I mean, how can you hope your kid will make honor roll this year if murderous meth addicted rednecks want to kill you? It’s the worry of every modern day parent I’m sure.

Undercover DEA agent Phil Broker (Statham) has infiltrated a biker gang that is about to make a meth deal so huge Walter White would flip his pork pie hat. But since this is a movie, Broker’s cover is blown and the deal goes to heck, leading to a massive gun battle which kills several cops and bikers and leaves Broker with a death mark on his head by the gang’s leader Danny T (Chuck Zito) who really hates going to jail when his drug deals go wrong.

Two years later, Broker (now a widower) has moved to a small Louisiana town with his cute daughter Maddy (Izabela Vidovoc) hoping to put the violent DEA years behind him and have a life that doesn’t involve pretending to be a greasy biker.  Their awesome Daddy-Daughter time is short lived when Maddy kicks the crap out of a bully one day in the schoolyard.

The bully’s Mom Cassie (Kate Bosworth), the queen of the greasy meth addicts demands revenge, and when her equally greasy husband nearly gets his spleen handed to him when he picks a fight with Broker, Cassie calls upon her brother Gator Bodine (James Franco) to bring to bring balance to their white trash world by killing the brooding stranger and his pretty daughter.

It turns out Gator is also the local meth dealer who has the sheriff in his pocket and evil on his mind.  When Broker easily dispatches two of Gator’s thugs at a gas station (seriously, would you take a swing at a a brooding bald guy with a “I love beating people to death” bumper sticker on his truck?), Gator breaks into Broker’s house and discovers files that reveal Broker’s secret undercover past.

With his newfound information, Gator contacts his girlfriend/meth business partner Sheryl (Winona Ryder, seriously) who happens to know the biker gang that Broker infiltrated years before because she used to be a meth addicted biker whore before she became a meth addicted drug dealer. Hey, everyone chases success in his or her own way.

Sheryl informs Danny T she knows where his old buddy Broker is hiding, hoping to leverage this info into a mega south eastern drug distribution deal for her and Gator’s meth business. But wouldn’t ya know it, dangerous meth dealing bikers just can’t be trusted, and Danny T dispatches a hit squad led by the sadistically greasy Cyrus (Frank Grillo) to kill Broker, Maddy, and probably Sheryl and Gator if they don’t go along with the plan.

It’s a home invasion of the hillbilly kind as the evil bikers attack Broker’s house with more firepower than your average Marine platoon. But since the home belongs to action hero extraordinaire Jason Statham, a man who kicks the crap out of more people before breakfast than you do before a million breakfasts, you know little Maddy is going to have a safe place to call home when the smoke clears.

Hopefully the house is still standing.

Homefront is by no means an original movie – there have been lots of films featuring a hero up against bad guys who run the town – but the final five minutes of the movie are well worth the rental, particularly if you’re not a fan of the sometimes off putting James Franco. I won’t spoil it for you, but Jason Statham does to Franco what millions of people wanted to do to him after his dreadful co-hosting of the Oscars in 2011.

Thanks Jason. We owe ya one.

 

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There’s Always Room for J-Lo!

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PARKER (2013) Director: Taylor Hackford Starring: Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Chiklis, Nick Nolte Rating: R for violence, bad language, lots of fake blood, and a few shots of Lopez in her undies.

If you’ve read this blog before (and you have my deepest sympathies) you know that as far as I am concerned professional thief is one of the greatest jobs you can have in a movie. You get to wear disguises (depending on the job), your co-workers are known as your “crew,” which is a very cool, and best of all there’s lots of great stuff for you to take because movies are full of stuff!

But as the title character of the crime thriller Parker finds out, professional burglary isn’t all fun and games. There’s betrayal, murder, and worst of all, you might wind up in Florida!

FLORIDA!

You can count me out right there, Mister!

Super thief extraordinaire Parker has just pulled off a daring robbery with a crew if guys he’s never worked with before. They seem like decent fellows, until their leader Melander (Michael Chiklis) makes Parker an offer he can’t refuse: use the money they just stole to finance their next job (a jewelry heist that’s worth millions) or die. When Parker turns down their offer because he’s got a thing that week and his new partners are treacherous dicks, he’s shot and left for dead on the side of the road.

Not to worry DVD viewers! You see, Parker is played by indestructible action star Jason Statham, a man who’s basically Wolverine minus the claws and Elvis haircut, so you know something as trivial as a gunshot won’t stop him from getting even.

Determined to get his money back and put a world of hurt on Melander, Parker gets some info from his mentor Hurley (Nick Nolte ) that leads him to New Orleans, where he beats up some guys and finds out Melander and company are going to pull off their big heist in Palm Beach, Florida. Against Hurley’s warnings to let things be and lay low for a while with his best gal Claire (Emma Booth), Parker heads to Palm Beach to double cross the guys who double crossed him, and maybe ride a jet ski or play some golf.

Pretending to be a rich oil man from Texas, Parker dons a Yosemite Sam sized cowby hat and hooks up with Leslie Rodgers (THE Jennifer Lopez), a debt ridden real estate agent desperate for commission to show him some rental properties around Palm Beach.  Parker is hoping Leslie will lead him to the house Melander is using to plan his robbery, and Leslie is hoping Parker is single and has a thing for broke, divorced gals who live with their Mothers.  But Parker has no time for love because not only has Melander found out that Parker is alive, but through some mob connections has dispatched a ruthless hit-man to take out Parker, Claire, their neighbors, the kid who delivers their paper every morning, Parker’s fifth grade teacher, Claire’s cat Mr. Whiskers…you get the idea.

Parker finds his former crew’s hideout and discovers Melander’s plans to steal $50 million in jewels from a huge auction taking place in a few days. But before Parker can let his inner Statham run loose, Leslie informs Parker she knows he’s not a rich Texan (maybe it was his English accent) and demands a cut of whatever Parker steals from Melander. Oh, and the hit-man shows up too, which is just dandy because Parker doesn’t have enough shit going on in his life!

As Melander’s crew steals the diamonds, Parker sets his revenge plan in motion, and things get really messy in some rented house in Palm Beach. I seriously doubt Melander is going to get his cleaning deposit back.

Parker isn’t wall to wall butt kicking compared to some of Jason Statham’s previous action epics, but the Sta-man does put the smackdown on some baddies from time to time, and the story has enough going on to keep you interested.  Mega superstar Jennifer Lopez does a pretty good job in a minor role, and as I mentioned she does get to show off her trademark booty, which is fine if you’re into trademarked body parts like the aforementioned booty.

It’s just…

Look, the movie could have used a bit more kicking. It’s what Statham does. It’s his thing!

Just saying.

I Kick, Therefore I Am!

SAFE (2012) Director: Boaz Yakin Starring: Jason Statham, Catherine Chan, James Hong, Robert John Burke, Chris Sarandon Rating: R for bad language, graphic violence, and just the right amount of kicking. 

Ever since the 2002 flick The Transporter, Jason Statham has become one of the biggest action stars in the movie world. How did Jason become so gosh darn popular?

Is it his rugged looks? His accent? His intense, brooding acting style?

Nope. It’s the kicking. The man is just aces at kicking people! And to the satisfaction of fans everywhere Statham has starred in several movies that have showcased his amazing kicking powers.

Except the Bank Job, which was painfully devoid of any kicking whatsoever. It must have been hard for Jason to act in such a non-kicking movie :

Director – Okay Jason, in this scene you are telling your friends about a bank heist…

Jason Statham – Yeah, and then I kick both of them in the head.

Director – No Jason, you don’t kick them, you’re just talking.

Jason Statham – Right. So I punch that guy and…

Director – No Jason. In this scene you’re planning the heist…

Jason Statham – And then I kick them?

Director – Okay, Let’s take lunch everyone!

Lucky for us, the movie in todays review is chock full of Statham doing what he does best: introducing bad guys to his two best friends, Gordon Rightfoot and Lisa “Left Foot” Lopez.

I’m not sure if Jason Statham has names for his feet, but I’m guessing he does.

In Safe Statham plays Luke Wright, a poor New Yorker who’s having such a terrible year, even the Mets make fun of him.

When Luke’s victory in the ultimate fighting arena costs a vicious Russian mob kingpin lots of money, he writes a strongly worded letter to Luke voicing his displeasure with the outcome of the fight. Just kidding! Russian mob thugs take revenge by killing Luke’s wife and forcing him to live the rest of his life with killers looking over his shoulder, ready to off anyone he makes more than casual conversation with.

Basically the Russian mob is like the psychotic ex-boyfriend from one of those Lifetime  TV movies.

Meanwhile, adorable little Chinese girl Mei (Catherine Chan) is having an especially craptacular year of her own. Held prisoner by the Chinese Triad gang because of her talent for remembering every number she sees, Mei is forced by the Triad’s boss (James Hong) to memorize a special sequence of numbers that the Russian Mob wants to get their hands on. When the Russkies attack Mei’s guards, she escapes the ambush and runs into one of the safest places in New York City: the subway!

As Luke contemplates stepping in front of an oncoming train, he spots Mei running from the same Russian jerks who have made his life hell for the past 12 months, and decides moping is for losers and kicking bad guys is for winners! Luke grabs Mei and the two are off and running with the Triads, the Russian mob, and an bunch of corrupt cops on their trail, all of whom want little Mei alive and big Luke deader than sequel plans for The Love Guru

Think Luke is in over his manly bald head? Not to worry, folks. It turns out Luke isn’t just a disgraced cage fighter turned homeless drifter. He’s an ex-NYPD special ops guy who years earlier waged a secret war against the city’s most notorious creeps and scumbags; and I’m not talking about the guys in Ed Hardy shirts who wear too much Axe bodyspray. The evil and corrupt Mayor (Chris Sarandon), who was Luke’s boss in the old days is not too happy that his former personal assassin is back and turning lower Manhattan into Dodge City, thus ruining his plans to be even more evil and corrupt.

I’m not going to give away any more details of the story, but if you think for a minute that Statham is going to let a helpless little girl fall into the hands of bloodthirsty gangsters, then you my friend do not believe in the power of positive kicking!

Safe is like a deluxe 40 oz. Whitman’s Sampler, but instead of chocolate it’s packed with a delicious assortment of car chases, gun battles, throat punches, head butts, groin smashes, and of course kicking. Lots and lots of kicking.

Jason Statham should be proud of all the kicking he did in this movie.

God knows I am.