Safe (Jason Statham) - Review
Review by Jason Palmer
IF The Expendables did one thing right, it was to bring back big-screen machismo in a big way. A stalwart of ’80s cinema but more recently relegated to the wastelands of ‘Straight-to-DVD’ action has started to be in-vogue once again.
The Expendables got the balance just right while one of its stars has quietly crafted an impressive legacy in the genre. Safe adds to Jason Statham’s credentials as the only go-to guy for balls-out action and it’s a hell of a lot of fun to boot.
At the films’ core is an involving but slightly under-developed relationship between Statham’s rogue, downtrodden ex-cop and the savvy but innocent Mei, played convincingly by newcomer Catherine Chan.
She is a child prodigy, kidnapped and forced to use her gift to aid the mob in dodgy dealings. Tasked with memorising a safe combination that holds the secrets of Russian and Chinese mobs along with the names of shady police officers and government officials, Mei finds a way out and is rescued by Luke Wright (Statham) who unsurprisingly has his own axe to grind with some of the guilty parties.
Cue a mad dash across New York as our duo search for the safe and in the process draw dangerous, unwanted attention from every corner.
While Safe isn’t in the same league as Commando, Cobra or Die Hard it still ticks a few boxes from this bygone era of masculine mayhem.
Clichéd villains, copious amounts of violence and deliciously dead-pan one-liners are the order of the day but what sets Safe apart from the usual trash churned out by the likes of Steven Seagal is Statham’s undeniable star-quality.
The Transporter star really gives the film a presence and his skills are brilliantly put to use in a collection of impressive action scenes that leave you on the edge of your seat.
A fight on a subway train is a particular highlight as is Statham ingeniously using a man to cushion his fall after jumping out of a window.
The supporting cast all hand in noteworthy turns too. James Hong steals his scenes as Han Jiao, the very creepy head of a Chinese mob family, while fan favourite Reggie Lee makes for a thoroughly despicable right-hand-man and Fright Night’s Chris Sarandon makes a welcome return to the big-screen as the slimy Mayor of New York.
If you are looking for the perfect Friday night popcorn movie, Safe fits the bill. It may be ridiculous but it’s ‘good’ ridiculous.
If you’ve never cared for Statham’s brand before, there’s nothing for you here, but for those wanting a kick-ass piece of escapist fun after a hard week at the office, Safe proves to be just that.
Running time: 94mins
UK Release Date: May 4, 2012