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Safe - 30/4/2012 6:27:30 PM   
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Post #: 1
RE: Let's get real here. - 7/5/2012 11:00:42 AM   
Dr Lenera


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Joined: 19/10/2005
In Hong Kong, young Mei, who has a special gift for remembering numbers, is taken from her motherís care by gangsters who want to use her talent, and taken to New York, where the local Triad leader uses her to help keep him in control of much of the city. Wondering around the city is Luke Wright is a homeless guy who was once a cage fighter, but he blew a rigged fight, causing the Russian mafia to murder his wife. Mei is asked to remember a special, extra-long number, but is snatched from the Chinese by the Russians during a gun battle. The Russians are then attacked by the New York police, much of whom are deeply corrupt and are constantly making deals with the gangs. Mei escapes and is pursued by men into a railway station, where Luke is about to kill himselfÖ..

Jason Statham really stretches himself and shows true versatility in Safe, a highly emotional and very romantic drama. Nah, who am I kidding? Actually, the Stath, once again, just plays the Stath, and for all that some might moan that he doesnít attempt to do anything different, heís great at it. This is nothing new either; Clint Eastwood tended to play variations on the same role for at least two decades. Statham plainly enjoys making the kinds of films he does and has said that those kind of movies are the ones he most enjoys going to see, so fair play to him. Of course, quality does vary somewhat. His last outing, the underrated Killer Elite, was for me amongst his best pictures. Safe, which reminded me of a Bruce Willis picture called Mercury Rising, falls around the middle as Statham movies go. Itís an enjoyable action picture but doesnít have the invention of movies like Crank and Transporter 2 and is a bit run-of-the-mill.

The early section of Safe flits back and forth almost too fast as it introduces our two main characters, and we are not really given enough time to engage with them. Obviously writer/director Boaz Yakin knew he had to set the story in motion before the action could start, but felt he had to rush matters to get to the good stuff. The plot is actually not very complicated, but the overly rapid progression of scenes and constant barrage of information makes it seem like it. After a while I realised that all I needed to know was; everyone in New York was on Ďthe takeí, they all want what Mei has memorised, and Luke has a shady past which we know will be revealed in good time. I admire the fact that Yakin has tried to give us a decent story to balance the action, but it becomes more and more ridiculous as it goes on. Of course realism is not important in action movies, but Safe attempts, for the most part, a fairly realistic approach, so the two elements clash.

O well, the action is pretty constant, with fights, car chases and gunfights galore. Statham is the most brutal heís been in a while as he kills off baddie after baddie. The neck-breaking, arm-snapping brawling is quite vicious and nicely mixes martial arts with street fighting. Much of it is cut rather too fast so itís not too easy to see and you almost have to squint your eyes, but there is sometimes some invention in the filming. I especially liked being in a car while stuff was going on all around it, and seeing things happening in the rear-view mirror. Overall the action is nothing new though and stops towards the ending, which seems to be about to give us a great climactic duel and doesnít. The way things play out makes sense in terms of the story, characters and thematic elements, but this is an action movie dammit, and you will probably be left with a feeling of disappointment. Still, there isnít much room for scenes between Mei and Luke; in fact they have about two or three dialogue scenes together, and I would have liked to have seen more, to give the movie an emotional dimension, but it seems happier with Statham taking out goons in a restaurant, or on a train, or in a nightclub.

It does seem to have something to say though. In part it is about Lukeís redemption, with the scene where he first meets her being rather similar to the scene in Itís A Wonderful Life where George is about to kill himself and Clarence the angel falls in the water so George can save him, in the process stopping Georgeís suicide. Mei is the angel who saves Luke from topping himself and gives him a sense of purpose. The film actually seems to be more interested in Mei, who is played very well by Catherine Chan. She seems able to show changing and conflicting emotions in quite a subtle way. Throughout, Mei is constantly threatened by gun-wielding gangsters, and itís quite upsetting to see, but she seems to change greatly through the film. A good example is when a guy is shot in front of her and she hides her eyes. Later on, the same thing happens but this time she looks even though she is advised not to. I will not describe exactly what she does at the end, but it does seem that Yaki is commenting on desensitisation to violence. I think he means us to wonder if the ending is indeed a happy one, and that itís possible that Luke and Meiís troubles may have only just begun. Complaints though about the supposed amorality of Safe are wrong in my opinion; the film seems to be asking us moral questions while still, cunningly, letting us revel in the violence.

In most of Stathamís films, he has a scene or two that show what a good actor he can be, and Safe has several. Especially strong is an early bit where Russians have broken into his house and, his life seemingly ruined, he kneels on the floor and seems to want to die, his face in total anguish and despair. Of course for most of the film heís just the Stath, and thatís just the way we like him. Overall Safe is a slightly awkward piece, playing it, appropriately, very safe for the most part, but it does have some interesting stuff in it buried amongst the crash bang wallop and it is certainly fun, reminiscent of some 80s action movies in feel. I would have liked to have seen a longer, more detailed movie from this story, exploring its themes in more depth and really letting us into the minds of its two main characters. But then it wouldnít have been a Jason Statham movie, would it?

Rating: 6/10


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Post #: 2
RE: Safe Review - 8/5/2012 8:37:05 PM   

Posts: 18275
Joined: 10/3/2006
From: Punishment Park
Really enjoyed this film - no great surprises, but a solid well made action movie.


It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.

Post #: 3
RE: Safe Review - 8/5/2012 9:06:33 PM   
Lucky Day

Posts: 846
Joined: 7/3/2012
From: Dundee
As above. It was really very good & Statham is on top form throughout. It's a decent enough story, the director has done a solid job and I really enjoyed the performance of Reggie Lee as one of the main bad dudes. 4/5

(in reply to Rgirvan44)
Post #: 4
RE: Great Fun - 9/9/2012 7:22:20 PM   

Posts: 654
Joined: 3/4/2012
Safe (2012) about double cross, intrigue and back stabbing, this film has it all and you never know who the hell's gonna get it next.

Statham is back, well he never left but he's back on his own killing everybody in his path whilst being rather nifty with a gun. Like Seagal, Statham is pretty much always cast as either a cop, elite cop, military special forces, ex-cop or ex-military special forces, the same role every time.

Now this isn't a huge issue but the attraction is definitely wearing a tad thin these days, much like it did with Seagal along time ago. In this rather unimaginatively titled film Jason is an ex-cop trying to protect a little Chinese girl from pretty much everyone whilst also trying to get hold of a disc with lots of dodgy info on. The little Chinese girl is the only one who knows the combination to the safe which stores the disc.

So cue tonnes of gun battles, fist fights, car chases and expecting to see Jason being somewhat invincible. Gotta admit the action is very good is this, nothing original of course but it looks top dollar with some excellent stunts and gritty gun fights. Body count is through the roof as Chinese, Russian mafia and NY police get blown away left right n Mr Statham. The good thing about the film is virtually everyone is double crossing everyone else including their own men, you never know who's gonna call who in this vicious circle.

Highly unoriginal but actually not too predictable although after the first few double crosses you know not to trust anyone, but everyone does look like a suspicious suit. A much better action flick than previous straight to DVD Statham efforts, good production values and very slick. Definitely the highest body count I've seen for some time but Mr Statham needs to expand his range now methinks.
Post #: 5
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