johnlink ranks SAFE HOUSE (2012)

Ryan Reynolds is on a fairly solid career trajectory, doing more good stuff than bad stuff. Denzel Washington, of course, is a star. This was a somewhat interesting pairing, with Denzel being placed in the role of bad guy. I like the choice, even if I prefer his more heroic roles than his more villainous turns.

safe-house-washington-reynolds

I watched SAFE HOUSE (2012) on 12.18.12. It was my first viewing of the film.

SAFE HOUSE concerns a young CIA operative named Matt (Reynolds) who guards a house used to guard or protect assets. He’s been there a year without any action when the CIA brings in traitor Tobin Frost (Washington). Some people want Frost dead, some want him alive, some just want what he has. But they all come for him. Despite the title, the action breaks out of the house fairly quickly (and yes, I understand that the title has a double meaning) and out into the streets of South Africa.

If I didn’t know this was a movie directed by Daniel  Espinosa, I would have been sure that this was a film by the late Tony Scott. The film looks like a Tony Scott film with its color filters and non-linear editing to create suspense. It also stars Denzel Washington who worked with Scott multiple times in the past decade. I’m complimenting this film with this comparison; this is a sleek and impactful suspense flick with plenty of quality action.

I could take issue with the way Matt’s character goes from not having the nerve to hold a gun to a world-class CIA agent, but that would be getting a little too picky. The fact of the matter is that the film goes a little too far in showing Matt to be over-his-head in the opening, whether it was over-acting or over-directing could be debated, and then he suddenly is able to drive a car. fight, and shoot like a seasoned pro. This is a film which takes place over the course of a couple of days, and the journey Matt takes is perhaps a bit unrealistic.

Another issue with the film concerns the third act and how some of the twists play out. One of the twists was so obvious that I was sure it couldn’t possibly happen. Then it did. The finale, while somewhat predictable, was at least satisfying. But in a film which worked so hard to be something other than average, the big twist at the end didn’t have any impact. It was just too easy.

But, having levied some criticism, I also must be clear that you can do a heck of a lot worse than SAFE HOUSE. Reynolds and Washington build some nice chemistry, and they are fun to watch. The action is satisfactory and the characters are mostly dynamic. This is a solid movie. Not spectacular  but certainly worth visiting.

SCORES

FILM: 6; MOVIE: 8; ACTING: 6; WRITING: 5

6+8+6+5+0=25

FINAL SCORE: 6.25

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~ by johnlink00 on December 20, 2012.

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