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Playing it Safe
With the tagline “She is the code. He is the key”, lead actor Jason Statham does not disappoint doing what he does best in the fast-paced action movie Safe.
For a chase-filled 94 minutes, a male-driven cast leads you on a rip-roaring war through New York City in pursuit of central character, 11 year old Chinese girl Mei (played by newcomer Catherine Chan).
She is a genius, abducted by the Chinese Triads due to her extraordinary memory. When she is given a long numerical code to a safe containing 30 million dollars, an all-out war between the Chinese, the Russian Mafia and corrupt cops ensues to find the girl and have the code.
Former cop and boxer Luke Wright (Jason Statham) gets involved in the chase accidentally and decides to recuse the young girl, guns blazing, against the bad guys who are appropriately also old enemies. He is a cop with a heart of gold, who is the only straight-laced male character in the film, and evidentially likes getting into a lot of fights, both with and without weapons.
This sounds like a stereotypical police vs. Triads vs. Russians vs. crocked cops and corrupt government officials movie. And on one hand, it is. But instead of going into long back-stories, the movie knows what it is – a fast-paced flick where the effects and stunts are the focus, and action is the star.
Unfortunately, the second to front row seats did not help with the fast action sequences. Director Boaz Yakin takes us from wobble rear vision mirror shorts, to white-out screen gunshot flashes, to hand-held camera in the middle of the action, and it actually got to be a bit sickening. However, the action was spliced and paced out nicely with dialogue, giving the audience a chance to rest from the intense chase scenes. Call me old-fashioned, but actors spend so much time training for films and learning fight choreography, don’t we want to see it? Die Hard showed the action in all its tripodded, 80’s glory – maybe we need to go back to that simple form of direction and see what’s actually happening.
The sound effects were truly awesome; this is one movie where the sound is better the louder it is as it really puts you in amongst the action.
Throughout the movie there are some genuinely funny moments from Statham. His interactions with Mei, and his macho one-liners to his enemies, had the audience chuckling throughout.
All in all, this is a great movie for guys (and girls) who like their action modern and uncomplicated. It’s a fast 94-minute, and is one of those movies to sit back and enjoy the ride, and take it at face value. And with Statham as the leading face, I’m sure the girls will find the movie just as entertaining.
By Jessica Tappenden
30 May 2012