Homefront Blu-ray Review
Or what would happen if Statham replaced Cruise as Jack Reacher
Homefront Blu-ray Review
A river of missed opportunities and wasted actors leaves you with a sour feeling despite the film’s earnest best intentions and sporadically engaging action-thrills.Based on the novel of the same name by Chuck Logan – one of a series of books about the same recurring character – and the adapted screenplay by Stallone, which was reputedly written originally with the intention of Sly himself taking up the role, and directed by Gary Fleder – who made his debut with the superb cult classic Things to do in Denver when you’re Dead – Homefront had all the foundation of something special. When James Franco, Winona Ryder and Kate Bosworth joined the party, the chances of this were only further increased. Indeed, perhaps if Stallone himself were leading the pack, this might have just made for something a little more memorable.Unfortunately, despite Statham’s best efforts, he’s just not up to the job, and with the Director putting the piece together with lazy apathy, and the script reducing any promising book elements to a more predictable, familiar core, even the supporting cast can’t keep their heads above water. It’s far from a bad film, and Statham fans may actually be surprised by how much time and effort they invest in character development and plot construction, but ultimately you’ll watch and engage with it at a relatively non-committal level, finding it has all the intentions (or, if you were cynical, pretentions) of being more than just another throwaway action thriller – the likes of which Van Damme and Seagal made their names with back in the 90s – but, unfortunately, failing to elevate itself beyond this level.
Homefront Blu-ray Picture QualityThe movie returns to the home video front complete with a strong 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition presentation in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen. Detail is largely excellent, prevailing – for the most part – over any of the stylistic choices by the director/cinematographer to provide a well-defined image that boasts excellent facial close-ups, skin textures, clothing weaves and background layers. All of which come at no immediate expense, with no signs of unruly edge enhancement or excess DNR application. That’s not to say the image is without fault though.
Although very good – occasionally even great – the video presentation is somewhat limited by the stylistic choices.
The colour scheme is where things start to unravel, with strong primaries and vivid tones but variable contrast and, in particular, unresolved blacks, leading to spotty instances of crush, variable shadow details – some shots look spectacular, others not so much – and a noise level which fluctuates marginally more than you might have liked. All in all, though, it’s a very good video presentation, largely faithful to the source material which, in some respects, may well be the reason why it occasionally falls down.
Homefront Blu-ray Sound QualityThe film’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is a stomping mix which only benefits from being true to its source material, providing a thunderous, bombastic, but also remarkably precise accompaniment which enhances it in every way. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently throughout, rising above the rest of the piece, emanating largely from across the fronts and centre channels.
Things certainly aren’t quiet on the home front.
It’s not the dialogue that’s important, though, nor even the score – which, whilst perfectly acceptable isn’t strikingly memorable – but actually the effects. Bringing welcome ambient atmosphere to the quieter, more reflective moments (yes there are some!), and to the stalking night sequences and tense confrontations, and then providing the one-two punch delivery required to knock you out during the more explosive setpieces, the soundtrack handles the material exceptionally well. Boasting strong dynamics, surround coverage, sound design, directionality and LFE input, when the action kicks off, so does this track.
Homefront Blu-ray ExtrasNothing much here, just a few unmemorable deleted scenes – although it’s worth giving the extended ending a watch – and a couple of fluffy EPK promos.
Is Homefront Blu-ray Worth BuyingHomefront delivers the action, and attempts to deliver a great deal more, but ultimately fails in this latter respect – for the most part – leaving the best efforts of the cast and crew a little wasted in the inconsequential, unmemorable action mix that results. There is so much damn promise here, but so little of it is actually delivered, and yet another potential Statham-starring novel-series-based-franchise is likely left with no cinematic future.
Less than it should have been, but better than some of Statham's generic action output.
On Region B-locked UK Blu-ray we get very good video presentation and excellent audio, and even slim extras don’t prevent this from being a must-have purchase for fans of the film. Everybody else should probably consider a rental to test the waters first. Statham fans might find more than they usually get, but, similarly, those expecting it to live up to the book that it was based on (a potential Jack Reacher-style counterpart), or to the Stallone-input which is touts, may well be more critical.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99
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