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Year: 2013
Production Co: Open Road Films
Director: Gary Fleder
Writer: Sylvester Stallone
Cast: Jason Statham, James Franco, Kate Bosworth, Winona Ryder, Clancy Brown, Pruitt Taylor Vince

So-so movies that attract big names are always interesting. This Stath vehicle is the equivalent of one of his straight-to-video action thrillers, a lot like one from the 80s video era heydey starring Chuck Norris, Mark Dacascos or Cynthia Rothrock. It has similarly little outstanding to offer in plotting, action scenes or – despite the A listers present – acting.

The story couldn't be simpler. Stath is Broker, an undercover DEA agent who brings down a gang of meth dealing bikers early in the film, getting away with barely his life and a lot of carnage and destruction around him.

He leaves the agency, takes his cute daughter and moves to the backwoods of Louisiana to settle down, but he just can't stop finding trouble. Franco (who must have been between art projects) is Gator, a scuzzy local meth cooker, and when his redneck sister (Kate Bosworth) falls afoul of Broker because of a fight between their kids at school, Gator agrees to rough Broker up and figure out a way to scare him out of town.

Of course they picked on the wrong guy, and even though he doesn't want any trouble, Broker isn't averse to beating down a gang of thugs who corner him at the local gas sation while he's filling up. But the stakes get even higher when Gator – while breaking into the Broker house to find ammunition to scare them off with – discovers Broker's former identity.

He finds a connection to the surviving members of the gang Broker busted in the beginning through skanky barmaid Sheryl (a pre-Stranger Things Winona Ryder), and recruits her to strike a deal with them – give Gator wider distribution for his product and they'll hand Broker over.

Of course there's no honour among thieves, and when it all goes down amid a storm of double crosses between various factions of hillbilly criminals, Broker has no choice but to plant himself in the middle of it and dispense his own form of justice.

It's the kind of film that might have played much better in the 80s and wouldn't have cost nearly as much (the $20m they spent on this must have gone to Statham and Franco's trailers and the script by one Sylvester Stallone). It could have been more accepting of its trashy action/exploitation roots but while it's fun enough in this form, it's all pretty forgettable.

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