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Safe

    Reviewed by Tim Cooper on May 16th, 2012
    Icon
presents a film directed by Boaz Yakin
    Screenplay by Boaz Yakin
    Starring:
Jason Statham, Catherine Chan and Chris Sarandon
    Running Time:
94 mins
    Rating: MA
    Released:  May 10th, 2012


4/10

 

 

Before bringing his offbeat english charisma to Guy Richie's earlier films, Jason Statham was an Olympic Diver and fashion model. It's a shame that the same versatility cannot be said for his on screen career. The Englishman has proved he can fly kick with the best of them while appearing in successful action films The OneThe Expendables and The Italian Job. Its when the studios bankroll Statham as the leading man that things can turn a little awry. CrankThe Transporter trilogy and The Mechanic have all been leading roles for the actor. Despite moderate success, they have all left the audience short on quality action entertainment. In Safe the action star tries to hold the picture together, but explosions and car chases can never hide a dull script and muddled narrative.


Safe is the story of Luke Wright (Jason Staham), a troubled cage fighter and young mathematical genius Mei (Catherine Chan). Together they hold the combination to open the contents of a safe wanted by the Triads, corrupt New York Police and of course the Russian Mob. Die Hard: With a vengeance (1995) proved that the Big Apple is an amazing backdrop for action and Safe does deliver some fine action set pieces throughout the city. From the subway to the city streets, the action is very well shot and does not shy away from placing the star right in the centre of the violence. It is highly impressive to clearly see Statham in frame during the fight sequences. His athletic ability combined with razor quick editing and perfect camera framing is invaluable in making the action the focal point for Safe.


Character development in good action films is always second to explosions and punches and this is as it should be. No one needs to know the insecurities of their actions stars, but since The Bourne trilogy Hollywood seems to think we do. Safe takes more than half an hour to warm up to the action movie that the trailer promises us. Also slowing down the first half hour is the cross narrative editing and confusing backstory for both the main stars. Luke's backstory is still not entirely explained until later in the film rendering this first half hour slightly pointless. The dialogue throughout is adequate for a film of this type, but lacks any colour or action star bravado to rank it along side classics with the usual Lethal Weapon style cocky banter. Without this character flare you will be reaching for the popcorn or praying for Statham just to start punching someone again when things get quiet. 

If you are a Jason Statham fan you are bound to get a kick out of Safe. For those that enjoy a little more originality with their broken bones and bullets, maybe wait until it is released on Blu Ray. While the actions remains impressive, the story and characters of Safe are incredibly dull and cardboard. Shot for a modest action film budget of $30 million dollars, this film will recoup its costs quickly. Unfortunately, this is not the vehicle to truly show off Statham's acting ability for playing offbeat characters or for holding the lead in an action film.






 
 



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