WRITTEN BY: Boaz Yakin
DIRECTED BY: Boaz Yakin
STARRING: Jason Statham, Catherine Chan, Chris Sarandon, Reggie Lee, Robert John Burke
RATING: 2.5 stars
Jason Statham is a special kind of action hero. While Bruce Willis kicked arse in films like Die Hard, he also got his fair share of knocks, bumps, bruises and bleeding injuries. But Statham is more like an intimidating superhero. In fact, despite a few punches, he barely gets a scratch on him during the film. The superheroes in The Avengers were more seriously injured than this "everyday" man. We've come to expect a certain style of revenge-inspired action film from Statham and in Safe that is exactly what we get. The film is full of plot holes and the story itself is far-fetched. Yet, there is so much fun action that audiences could almost forgive the film for being so bad because, while it's technically not a good film, it's so much fun to watch Statham bash and shoot random bad guys.
Luke Wright (Statham) is a disgraced New York policeman, turned cage-fighter. When he fails to take a dive during a fight, costing the Russian Mafia lots of money, they kill his wife and threaten to keep a close eye on him until he cracks. Luke becomes homeless and when he reaches rock bottom, he decides to jump in front of a train. But, before he can commit suicide, he sees a 12-year-old Chinese girl named Mei (Catherine Chan) on the run from the same mobsters. Luke saves Mei and soon realises that she is also wanted by the Chinese Triad, who originally kidnapped her from China, and corrupt police, who Luke used to work with, because Mei has memorised the digits that will open a safe with money and information that everyone wants.
It's an unlikely pairing but I have to admit I quite liked the buddy film idea explored between Statham and Chan's characters. Their chemistry is good and they both have some enjoyable one-liners. Unfortunately, that's the only complimentary thing I can say about the film. Safe could almost be offensive towards the Russians and Chinese, but just when you think "ethnic mobsters" are causing all the trouble, the film shows us that the corrupt police of New York are just as bad. Yeah, because it's always corrupt cops, isn’t it?
As if writer/director Boaz Yakin's formulaic storyline full of plot holes wasn't bad enough, the supporting cast did little to boost my enthusiasm for the film. It's not that they were particularly bad; they were just boring and two-dimensional. None of the characters had any depth from the corrupt captain (Robert John Burke) to the mayor (Chris Sarandon) and even Mei's "adopted father" (Reggie Lee) who should have been far more interesting felt like a caricature.
If you're a Statham fan, I'm sure you'll enjoy Safe. If you're not, this film won't change your mind.