Jason Statham and Izabela Vidovic in HOMEFRONT

If you’ve watched even one of them, you know how the average Jason Statham movie goes. He keeps to himself, he has (or had) a dangerous occupation, and when bad guys come a-knocking on his door he hands them an ass-whuppin’ they did not anticipate. Homefront is no different. But it is one of the better ones he’s been in recently.

This time around he plays Phil Broker a former DEA agent who took down a biker gang and then moved to the sticks to spend quality time raising his daughter Maddy (Izabela Vidovic). Things get uncomfortable when Maddy takes down a schoolyard bully and the bully’s mother Cassie (Kate Bosworth) enlists her brother to teach the Brokers a lesson.

Trouble is her brother Gator (James Franco) is a drug lord who likes to stir things up. He involves a girlfriend (Winona Ryder) in his scheme to scare the new family in town, especially after he learns who Broker used to be.

Naturally, Broker’s not the type of fella to back down from a fight.

The reason why Homefront works a lot better than the average Jason Statham vehicle is because James Franco really does come across like a stone cold psycho who will stop at nothing to vanquish his enemy. And yet Gator is also a practical businessman. That grants the antagonist a lot more dimension than you’re likely to find in way bigger budget movies playing at your local multiplex at the moment.

Also, the way the narrative of Homefront is designed, there is an escalation that seems totally organic, and gut-wrenching for the average person or family. Maybe the fact that Sylvester Stallone — as in Oscar-nominated screenwriter Sylvester Stallone — wrote this script has something to do with it. Or that director Gary Fleder has made enjoyable movies like Runaway Jury and Kiss The Girls in the past.

Whatever the reason, Homefront is totally worth checking out.