Friday, 15 June 2012

Film Review: Safe

Certificate: 15 (strong violence throughout, and language)
Directed By: Boaz Yakin
Cast: Jason Statham, Catharine Chan, Robert John Burke, Reggie Lee, James Hong, Anson Mount, Chris Sarandon, Joseph Sikora
Budget: $30 million
Runtime: 94 minutes
Trailer: Watch

The Stath is back in a completely different role to what we're used to seeing. Oh wait, no he isn't. Once again Jason Statham takes to punching people across rooms where in a paltry ninety-four minutes he manages to eliminate half the inhabitants of New York.

Cop-turned-cage-fighter (haha) Luke Wright (Statham) unwittingly gets the wrong side of the Russian mob, who inflict revenge by murdering his wife. But when Luke once again inadvertently crosses the crazy Ivans chasing 10-year old Chinese maths prodigy Mei (Chan), he soon finds himself embroiled in the middle of a three-way tug of war between the Ruskies, the Triads and crooked cops.

Safe is a throwback to action movies of the seventies and eighties. Action is set to maximum while plot and dialogue are on mute. This is unashamedly a ginormous cliche of stock foreign gangsters, wisecracking sidekicks and inordinate body counts. There's some fluff of a subtext about redemption and all that, but Safe is proper old skool. However, not always in a good way; more like an amalgamation of every Arnie, Stallone and Van Damme 'script' rolled into one tawdry homage. And no, I don't mean The Expendables. The main problem here is that proceedings don't seem to transition smoothly as frenetic action sequences appear more like missions in Grand Theft Auto. There's even a car jacking scene identical to that in the game.

Safe is rough around the edges and horribly dated, but it does have its moments in providing decent bouts of nostalgia to satiate eighties action movie junkies. Action scenes are efficient while the Stath's one-liners never cease to amuse. And let's be honest here, you can't really hold such brainless bravado movies against Statham. He gives the audience what they want without any art house pretentions. This is very much a film where you call the lads round and order a pizza.