Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Homefront?

The title doesn't make much sense in context, but regardless, Homefront the movie is a solid action movie written by Sylvester Stallone (!), directed by Gary Fleder and starring Jason Stathem and James Franco.

Stathem plays "Broker", an undercover DEA agent who takes down a bunch of biker/meth dealers and winds up on the surviving biker's hit list. For reasons not really explained (though Broker's wife died off-camera a some point), Broker quits the force, packs up his 12 year old daughter and buys a ramshackle house in rural Louisiana.  Evidently the DEA has an amazing pension plan because Broker no longer has to work and spends most of his time puttering around doing home-repairs and charming his daughter's grade school teacher.

But.  There's ALWAYS a but.  When daughter Maddy gets in a schoolyard fracas with a bully, daddy Stathem is confronted by the bully's annoyed parents and employs his DEA/ninja skills to settle things.  Except slamming a guy to the ground and choking him in front of his wife and son doesn't have the placating effect he hoped.  Turns out the wife's brother is "Gator" Bodine (James Franco), yet another meth dealer with a cadre of goons, and he doesn't take kindly to this newbie roughing up his relatives.  He's probably sore because people make fun of his name.  Anyhow, a series of tit-for-tat confrontations escalate until... well, I won't get into spoilers, but there's a lot of beatin' up and shootin'.

That sounds pretty routine, but there are a couple of things going for Homefront.  First, it's very well directed by Gary Fleder, who eschews CGI stuntwork for more grounded fisticuffs.  Cars don't magically fly over other cars and bodies actually obey the laws of physics.  It's also very well acted by Stathem, Franco and Winona Ryder as a meth head (!).  And finally, the story actually leaves room for characters to evolve in slightly unexpected ways.  In real life, sometimes it actually IS possible to apologize and put things behind you without a half dozen suicidal machine-gun toting dudes coming after you.  At least I hope so (sorry I flipped you off, guy who cut me off in traffic!).

But again, I don't get the title. I've read that this was originally going to be a Rambo sequel, and a story about a soldier from overseas coming home to fight local bad guys, well, then Homefront makes sense.  U.S. based DEA agent retiring to U.S. based meth region and getting into fights, not so much.  Oh well.  Too bad there's an old Burt Reynolds movie called "Gator" because that's a great title...  


2 Comments:

Blogger saldiviajones said...

Mark, this comment is unrelated to your post. I read all of your aliens novels as a teenager and loved them. The Alien has always been a part of my psyche, a muse for the darker side of my over-active imagination.

The Alien represents for me the unexplainable destructive forces in this universe, the remorseless entropy against which all life fights. Anyway, I loved how you developed the Alien's ability to communicate through dreams and how that played a role in the infestation through the 'fanatics' who broke into the Company's research facility. I love the idea of the infestation itself, and how the annihilation of mankind parallels the way mankind has destroyed most of nature.

We are to our own planet what the Aliens are to us in Earth War.

I recently lost a beloved family member to brain cancer, and in the aftermath of that devastating event, a story line was born in my mind that sort of became a way to handle my feelings of loss and helplessness.

I am in the process of writing this story down, and a big question has come up: Copyright. Is the Alien copyrighted in whole or in parts? Did you have to pay royalties for the Earth War series, or were you simply contracted to write it for someone else? I want to develop the Aliens' ability to communicate through dreams and create an original response to the infestation (instead of the Orona 'nuclear' option).

I know you're a busy man, so I appreciate that you've read this far, and if you have a moment to answer my question about copyright, I would greatly appreciate it. I am a big fan of your work, and hopefully one day we can meet and talk shop. I wish you luck in your endevours, and Happy Holidays.

--Stephen Jones

8:01 AM  
Blogger Mark Verheiden said...

Hi Stephen, thanks for the kind words re: my ALIENS books. To answer your specific question, ALIENS is owned by 20th Century Fox and Dark Horse has the license to produce new graphic novels. (I believe they're getting ready to reboot the whole series, including Prometheus in the mix). So yeah, that property is all tied up.

Sorry to hear about your loss... this has been a pretty lousy year for that. Mark

8:15 AM  

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