Safe (2012)

When his wife is murdered by Russians as a direct result of his impulsiveness in the ring, cop-turned-cage-fighter Luke Wright (Jason Statham) is left with nothing, put under surveillance and told that anyone to whom he shows the slightest kindness towards will be killed, their blood on his hands. About to end it all at the local subway, Wright is distracted when a young Chinese girl (Catherine Chan as Mei) catches his eye. Aware that she is trying to hide from someone, Luke steps in and saves her from her pursuers. Caught up in a deadly gang-warfare as a result – as the Chinese, the Russians and a faction of corrupt cops battle over the information locked inside Mei’s head – Luke is finally able to settle an old score and find the redemption that he needs to live.

You know, typecasting gets a bad rap. While of course diversity is to be encouraged, the old usage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” clearly pervades for a reason. One such reason is the career of British brickhouse Jason Statham, whose latest film, Safe, is currently punching cinemas in the face nationwide. Having confessed on numerous occasions that he does not consider himself to be a character actor – and who is going to second guess an Expendable? – it would be pointless to take Statham to task for not putting his gun down every once and a while to fret over his sexuality or teach card tricks at Hogwarts.

After all, despite the fact that a Statham movie is about as predictable as maths, each new release nevertheless manages to entertain with its measured alchemy of brawn, brooding bruvado and that one line that makes you want to give the English language an affectionate nudge on the shoulder. Safe duly delivers on all accounts, with a series of bruising set pieces, a tortured central performance from Statham and an exchange that runs along the lines of, “You’ve got some balls, Luke”, “I know, I’m amazed I can walk”. It really is entertaining stuff, with Luke’s pursuit of both redemption and revenge leading to some truly pulse-pounding moments.

While Safe shares many of the winning attributes of other Statham fare, largely as a result of his own quiet charisma, it also suffers for much the same reasons. Opposite Statham, the characteristically half-baked female lead falls unceremoniously by the wayside, left to unravel his character’s simplistic motivations whenever he’s not too busy beating the Chinese Mafia into submission with an empty plate. That said, newcomer Catherine Chan does her best as Mei, easily surpassing any of Statham’s female foils from the Transporter series. Safe also has its own, more specific failings; not least Statham’s patchy American accent, an opening twenty minutes that might kindly be described as a mess, and an over-abundance of shoot-outs that begin to verge on self-parody.

Fans of Statham’s own brand of action movie won’t be disappointed; Safe packs a premium punch and does so with the same laddish humour that the actor has become synonymous with. This is still throwaway stuff, mind you, and is robbed of a place at the top end of Statham’s own back catalogue by a preposterous body count and a series of poorly executed character introductions. Oh, and am I the only one who thought Big Bad Ha Jiao bore a distracting resemblance to Mr. Bean?


About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

One Response to Safe (2012)

  1. Pingback: May 2012 – It appears to be some sort of cake « popcornaddict

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