johnlink ranks SAFE (2012)

I’m not always big on Jason Statham. I like his supporting stuff like ITALIAN JOB and SNITCH and some of his starring roles like BANK JOB. But TRANSPORTER and CRANK never really did it for me. I like him enough to give any of his flicks a run, though I usually temper my expectations.


I watched SAFE (2012) on 5.16.14. It was my first viewing of the film.

Written and Directed by Boaz Yakin, SAFE is a throwback to big, mindless action films of the 90s. The Russians and the Chinese are at war in New York. The cops are corrupt and play both sides. An 11 year old savant named Mei (Catherine Chan) is caught in the middle. And, of course, the noble fighter Luke Wright (Jason Statham) gets involved.

Luke has not had a pleasant last few years. He throws fights in the octagon that he should win, except for when it matters most. Having knocked out the wrong guy, the Russians come knocking and they don’t play gently. Luke ends up wandering the streets for a year before getting tangled up with some corrupt cops who seem to have a history with him. He’s thinking about killing himself on some train tracks when he witnesses Mei being chased by some big bad Russians. He follows, and the rest unfolds over the course of this film.

SAFE has some cool looks. There are some lingering shots involving fights in and around a car which use all the available mirrors and angles to create a sense of controlled chaos. Statham has some great fights in this one, particularly on a subway. For high intensity action, this delivers even if the story is forgettable.

Sometimes a movie introduces a few too many characters. This isn’t to say that SAFE is too complex, but it just has more bad guys than it needs. There isn’t that one big final baddie to fight, or at least we don’t meet him until the last fifteen minutes of the movie. While this doesn’t take away any of the fun, it also doesn’t come across as creative enough to make an impact. Instead we watch Statham fight a bunch of guys we mostly don’t care about and never really encounter all of the worst people in the film. This, surely, is set up for a franchise. Not sure it did well enough to warrant one, but it is a movie which absolutely suffers from making sure too many bad guys are around in case SAFE 2 ever gets a green light.

There isn’t all that much to say about SAFE. If you’ve seen a well-shot action film then you know what you are getting here. The acting is good enough and the writing is indifferent. Come for some violence, and you won’t be disappointed. This may have been conceived of as an updated version of THE PROFESSIONAL, but it isn’t that good of a film. It is a perfectly fine action film, and there is plenty of room in the world for those.




FINAL SCORE: 6 out of 10



~ by johnlink00 on May 17, 2014.

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