WRITTEN BY: David Geggenheim
DIRECTED BY: Daniel Espinosa
STARRING: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Brendan Gleeson, Vera Farmiga, Fares Fares
RATING: 3 stars
You could almost forgive Safe House for being completely unoriginal in its plot because the action sequences are so good. The suspense in these scenes keeps you on the edge of your seat and there are some unexpected moments of action that startle you. Unfortunately, the plot itself is so predictable that it detracts from the enjoyment of the film. Action fans will love it, but if you don't like car chases and fight scenes, Safe House won't change your mind about the genre.
Young CIA agent Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is trying to make a name for himself but is stuck guarding a safe house in Cape Town, South Africa. One day, he is tasked with looking after former CIA agent and now fugitive Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) who has been on the run for 10 years. Frost turned himself in to the authorities to avoid capture by a group of mercenaries trying to kidnap or kill him. But when the safe house is attacked by the mercenaries, Weston is forced to go on the run with Frost until the CIA can intervene to pick him up.
Safe House has been compared by some to the Bourne trilogy but David Guggenheim's script is nowhere near as original. In fact, in between the superb action sequences, the story was rather dry and uninteresting. The plot was predictable and you can pick who the "bad guy" is in two seconds. I found myself waiting for these boring moments to pass just so I could see some more action. It's largely due to director Daniel Espinosa that the film has any kind of originality because he makes the actions sequences exciting. Sure, the car chases and public destruction scenes are implausible, but they’re so much fun that it doesn't matter.
The cast is also impressive in this film. We all known Denzel Washington is an amazing actor and he proves in Safe House that at the age of 57 he's still got the energy to keep up with younger action film stars. He also has the ability to convey thoughts and emotions with just a look in his eye, rather than over explanatory dialogue. He's paired quite nicely with Ryan Reynolds. It's nice to see Reynolds in a serious role where he does not deliver one joke or cheeky grin. I think he was actually acting rather than just playing his charming self for a change, and I must admit, I quite liked it. The supporting cast includes Vera Farmiga and Brendan Gleeson as CIA bosses and they are both very good.
Safe House provides nothing new, but action fans will enjoy it. Men can probably convince their wives or girlfriends to come along too because Ryan Reynolds takes his shirt off twice. Enjoy!