Starring Jason “fist with an accent” Statham, written by Sylvester “I wrote Rocky a long time ago” Stallone, and has James “I’m James Franco” Franco as an evil redneck. This sounds like the recipe for a down and dirty southern classic right? Well there’s only one way to find out, and that’s to keep reading!
The movie starts with a motorcycle gang meet up that appears to be a sting operation. Jason Statham is one of the bikers (presumably an undercover cop), and it turns out that these wannabe Sons of Anarchy are making drugs in the back of the bar. Mr. Statham is desperately trying to hide his accent, and we all know that no man can be a master of all things, so he’s failing pretty badly. The cops burst in, but the bust doesn’t go as planned. They capture some of the bikers, but the leader and his son get away in a car. Jason Statham ain’t hearing any of that shit, so he chases after the car on a motorcycle and somehow gets in front of them. Statham, who must be wearing Kevlar under his jeans, jumps off the motorcycle, skids on the road for a good 50 feet, while firing at his motorcycle which is heading straight for the car. His bullets get the motorcycle to explode, therefore incapacitating the car.
Jason Statham (without a scratch on him) drags the two mother fuckers out of the car and beats the dad’s ass. The son still has a gun so Statham shoots him in the leg. The cops have caught up to our unstoppable Brit, and shoot the kid dead when he reaches into his jacket. Naturally the father (Danny T) blames Statham (Phil Broker) for the death of his son despite not firing a shot above the waist, but he’s a biker scumbag so he doesn’t have to make sense. Broker literally walks away from the cops and heads straight for the opening credits which is a montage of aerial shots of swamps with names plastered over them.
We’re informed that it’s two years later and Broker has since moved to some red neck small town and we meet Broker’s daughter (Maddy) who’s getting bullied by this dude who doesn’t appear to have eyes.
Of course, being the spawn of Statham grants you certain gifts, and one of them is knock this kid the fuck out. The teachers who are NEVER EVER EVER EVER able to see a bully until he starts bleeding takes Maddy inside to talk to the principal. Statham arrives shortly after and we start to sense a disturbance in the force.
Apparently the kid has special needs, which means I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and say she’s had to deal with a lot of crap for her son, but she’s INSANELY unreasonable and manipulative to the point of rivaling Lady Macbeth. The husband isn’t any better as a dipshit redneck who’s gotta act a like a big man for his lady, and summarily gets pounded into the dirt.
Naturally, Lady Macbeth (Cassie) decides to get her brother involved who just so happens to be the one of kind nut-bar in the shape of a man known as James Franco. In our first scene with him, Mr. Franco (Gator) storms into a flop house with a bat, does some of his trademark crazy dialogue, and starts smashing knees before telling them to get the fuck out of his town and never cook meth in it again.
His dialogue is pretty bad, but Franco is able to power through it and gives us a great performance as the sweet talking psychotic who’s most likely a product of the shit hole he’s had to grow up in. So Cassie convinces Gator to teach Broker a lesson, while Broker tries to smooth things over with her husband. The apology goes about as well as you’d expect. Broker politely pretends to buy the husbands tough guy act, while ignoring the shit that is slowly filling the guy’s pants.
Unfortunately, that’s not the end to Broker’s troubles, because shortly after he gets harassed at a damn gas station by some wannabe tough guys with bad hair. Statham once again shows us what he’s capable of and turns the three goons into mulch. I’ve got to say that I’m not following Broker’s logic here. He knows that if he keeps kicking people’s asses, then he’s just going to paint a bigger target on his ass (as well as his kid’s). He apologized to the husband just so he can get some heat off of him, but then he pulverizes a bunch of losers who never stood a chance in the first place. Do the Jackie Chan thing where he just dodges everyone until they stop fighting out of embarrassment. I don’t know, maybe it’s a good thing this movie doesn’t waste time building up the number of people who want to take him out, so let’s just move on.
We also find out that Gator was the one who sent the guys (duh) and that he wasn’t fucking up meth cookers to make the town a better place, but because he’s got his own Walter White operation going. I love the scene where he gets the phone call about the guys getting their asses kicked.
No one presses charges, but the sheriff is gonna keep his eye on Broker from now on. Broker goes with his daughter to ride horses, and Gator breaks into his house while they’re gone. From Statham we learn that his wife is dead (duh) and Gator finds out about Broker’s past. Of course, out of the hundreds of files that Broker kept in unlocked boxes, Gator had to pick up the one relating to the case at the beginning of the film. What a coincidence that I’m SURE won’t mean we’ll be seeing the biker who swore vengeance on him and his kids. Actually, it’s even more of a coincidence because he knew the guy who got shot. I’ve got to say, if your plan is to leave your old life behind, you might want to move out of the tri-state area, otherwise shit like this is going to happen.
To sum up what happens in the next ten minutes, Gator gets his girlfriend to deliver news of Broker’s location to Danny T, which sets in motion the eventual siege against Statham and his kid. While this is happening Statham plans a birthday party for her daughter, and invites Cassie and her son as a peace offering to them. We also get a scene with the expository black friend who let’s Broker know all the plot points that he’s missed up to this point.
We also see that the bikers are heading into town to take care of Broker, which is odd because these guys look like they about to write Franco out of the movie. There’s lots of them compared to one Franco and a few straggling losers. They also seem to be much tougher and coldblooded than Gator can manage, so what the hell is he going to do at this point? We finally get the scene where these two meet, but it doesn’t amount to much considering he has no control over the bikers who are about to swarm on Broker, so getting in a dick measuring contest with him is kind of pointless now.
The scene is followed by Statham searching Gator’s workshop, but once again it’s kind of pointless. I don’t care about Gator anymore, I’m more worried about the gun totting motorbike enthusiast who are about to strike. Statham sets the place to blow and tries to leave before getting caught be Gator’s goons. They fuck with him for a bit but we all know that beatings make him stronger and he gets the strength to fight back. It’s a pretty good action scene where Statham is using everything in the workshop to keep his attackers at bay, and even though it uses the god damn shaky cam, you can still follow the action.
Statham is still unaware of the bikers, but decides to get him and his daughter out of there. Of course, she’s not happy about it and is moaning the whole time their packing, and Statham won’t just tell her “People are trying to kill us so shut up and pack.” The bikers FINALLY get to town and treat Gator like a little bitch to the point that they take his girlfriend with them and he doesn’t even put up a fight. The expository black friend is in the stables taking care of the horses when the crooks arrive, so we can guess his fate. He puts up a valiant fight against one of the goons, and actually manages to take him out!
Oh wait, he gets killed off immediately after. Oh well. Statham sticks Maddy in the basement which he hopes will keep her safe, and prepares for the imminent remake of the ending of Skyfall. There’s not a lot to analyze about this scene. It’s well shot, has plenty of painful hits, and Statham as always knows how to deliver this kind action. The CG blood is REALLY noticeable, but other than that it’s pretty good. Maddy gets chased in the woods by one of the creeps, but Statham takes him down pretty easy. However, the main baddy gets a decent hit on Statham which leads to an MMA fight that looks really silly.
Maybe it’s just me, but when I watch a fight in a movie, I’m not interested in grapples and leg locks. I want to see powerful hits and super swift strikes. Some of that is in the scene, but come on. LOOK AT THAT PICTURE!
Anyway, Maddy runs into Franco’s girlfriend who kidnaps her and heads for Gator’s workshop. The cops show up and continue to be ineffectual, and it turns out that the expository black friend didn’t die despite getting a face full of shotgun.
Franco’s girlfriend gets Maddy to the shop and he is fucking livid. The girlfriend gives no fucking reason why she brought the girl there, and Franco is about to kill her because he doesn’t want a witness. Then Cassie shows up for some reason, they get in argument, and Gator accidentally shoots his sister. Not only that, but before getting a gut full of lead, she accidentally set off the explosives that Statham left behind. No one gets hurt, but we get to see some pretty fires as Franco’s meth factory turns into ashes. While this is happening, Statham is driving his ass over there in a police car which doesn’t seem to bother any of the cops, but he’s too late. Gator has driven off with Statham’s daughter for no adequately explained reason other than shit has hit the fan and no one knows what the fuck to do. A car chase ensues, Statham’s car flips and Gator goes up to him with intent to shoot him in the face. Maddy however distracts Gator long enough for Statham to get the drop on him and then proceeds to beat the tar out of him.
Of course, he doesn’t finish him off because his daughter is watching, and it seems that everything turned out okay. Even Cassie survives! The last scene is Broker going to the prison where Danny T is, and lets him know he’ll be seeing him around.
Yeah, this movie isn’t all that great. It had some promise early on when it was about one man fighting against a town filled with ignorance of tough guy bravado, but the moment the bikers came back into the mix, the movie took a turn for the worse. I don’t care about the bikers, yet they present such an overwhelming force in the movie that Franco becomes pointless. If they had stuck to something along the lines of Straw Dogs, then maybe they could have had something here. As it is, it’s just a depressingly average action flick that had the potential to be something more. The two leads do what they can with the roles, but Statham isn’t given much to do besides being a father and bad ass, while Franco’s character runs out of steam about halfway through. I’m disappointed in you Stallone. Wait, it’s based on a book? Well the book must not have been that good! Anyway, I only give this the lowest of recommendations. It’s… okay, but the movie is one of those you’ll end up tuning out when you’re watching. Give it a chance if you’re hung over or need an excuse to waste a few hours of your life.