CHICAGO – Mention the name Harry Lennix, and images of his many character roles are bound to emerge – Harold Cooper in the TV series “The Blacklist,” General Swanwick from “Batman v Superman” and Commissioner Blades from Spike Lee’s recent “Chi-Raq.” The deeply knowledgeable Lennix brings his years of dramatic expertise, as he directs the Congo Square Theatre Company’s world premiere stage play “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red.’
Film Review: Dull ‘Homefront’ Can’t Get Action Into an Action Movie
CHICAGO – Sylvester Stallone is a difficult man to comprehend, unless if doing a thesis on male menopause. The one time screenwriter of gritty soul pictures like “Rocky,” “Paradise Alley” and “First Blood” is spending his later years pumping out undistinguished boom-boom pictures like “Homefront.”
This film – which Stallone adapted from a novel – has been on the shelf for a number of years, as Sly himself had passed the appropriate age to portray the main character. So “Expendables” costar Jason Statham has stepped up, and the taciturn British action star can’t breath any life into the ex-DEA agent role, now undercover as a single Daddy in a small Louisiana town. In what looks like a takeoff of 1970s southern-fried action movies like “Gator” and “Walking Tall” lacks any air of that culture or grindhouse energy. It feels like a high school production, carefully costumed and slickly produced, but with none of the atmosphere that makes it feel southern. But don’t worry, beatings are applied and stuff blows up.
The film begins with a huge drug bust in New Orleans. Broker (Jason Statham) is a undercover DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) agent, having infiltrated a bike gang that distributes crystal meth. He betrays the trust of the gang once the bust goes down, incurring the wrath of leader Danny T. (Chuck Zito). The government wants Broker to lay low for awhile, so they install him in a small southern town in Louisiana. There we learn that Broker is a single Daddy, raising a daughter while trying to remain low key.
That position gets upended when the daughter gets into a fight at school, and the boy she confronts has a nasty southern Momma named Cassie Bodine Klum (Kate Bosworth). The trouble she causes leaks all the way to her brother Gator Bodine (James Franco), who sees an opportunity – with his girlfriend Sheryl (Winona Ryder) – to export his Crystal Meth statewide through Danny T’s old network. This clash of the law and the lawless is about to generate some old fashion butt kicking and fireballs exploding.
Photo credit: Open Road Films(II)