Running Time: 94 minutes
Starring: Jason Statham
Directed By: Boaz Yakin
Rating 5 out of 10
A man must protect a mathematical whiz kid from harm by the hands of some local criminals.
Is it just me or does it seem like Jason Statham makes like a dozen movies a year? I will never fault an actor for pumping out movies. I wish he could be a little more discerning in his roles though. Safe is the story of Luke Wright. He is an ex cage-fighter and gets entangled in a feud between the Russian Mob, Triads, and a bunch of corrupt NYC cops. He is an unwitting participant and takes it on himself to protect a young girl embroiled in this feud. She carries a numerical sequence of significant importance to all three of the groups and has little hope for survival if she doesn’t give it up.
This film will not surprise anyone who is familiar with Statham’s work as of the last few years. It is all about action and that is about it. This film is no exception to that rule as it has an awful story about the shady underworld of crime in New York. It also has a blend of superficial characters that no one in their right mind would care about. This looks like a generic action flick, it feels like a generic action flick, and smells like a generic action flick. That is because it is a generic action flick. This film is just a pitiful excuse to have people shoot guns off in very public places with no repercussions from the law. The year is 2012 but this film has a pure 1980’s vibe to it. I was shocked Steven Seagal didn’t show up and start breaking forearms at some point.
The lead Luke Wright is played by actor Jason Statham. If you think you have seen this character before from Statham it is because you have. This is Statham’s bread and butter character. He has a tough guy demeanor sprinkled with some very witty dialogue and that’s all she wrote. Some people hate his lack of range while others applaud it knowing full well what you are going to get going in. He is an above average action star and could do this role in his sleep. You won’t be blown away by his performance but not be disappointed by it either.
His costar is Mei played by child actor Catherine Chan. She is clearly the Jar Jar Binks of the New York crime scene. She ruined the flow of this film with her rigid and unconvincing delivery. Whenever this film started to get entertaining she would show up to remind the viewer this film will not be good. The rest of the cast do okay jobs filling out some very stereotypical bad guy roles.
This film is very easy to watch and some of the action is above average. A hand to hand fight scene where Luke Wright takes on a gang of thugs on the subway is a tease of what could have been. If the movie slowed down for a second and added more scenes of this quality it would have worked. Instead cops shoot at Triads, Triads shoot at Russian mob guys, Russian mob guys shoot at cops, and Luke Wright shoots at all of them. That really is as deep as this movie gets. Luke protects Mei and as the story unfolds the viewer could care less about it. Mei is a math whiz more out of convenience then trying to develop any story with it and that is frustrating. Bullets fly by the thousands and the body count is super high but the film is just tedious to watch. Guns go off in restaurants, hotels, casinos, the street, and many other places but just like the cops in this film it will not register a response from you.
Director and writer Boaz Yakin should stick to shooting drama (Remember the Titans) as his action movie was very old school and cookie cutter. He had a vision and stuck with it but too bad the vision was flawed from the start. This film with lack of story and 2 dimensional characters gets tiring about 15 minutes in. The action isn’t the worst but the film never stops to breathe so it ultimately never really satisfies.
I cannot recommend this film and although it is never boring, it is safe to say it won’t appeal to anyone other than ardent action lovers.
T Factor + If you like Jason Statham as an actor this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you do not like mindless action this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: The Mechanic, Haywire