Jason Statham is fast becoming the king of the action movie; he’s prolific and yet his films (kinetic and action charged though they are) offer something extra than the normal and perfunctory ‘man seeks revenge’ plotline.
In Safe, the Stath is supposed to take a fall in a cage fight, but he accidentally KO’s the guy and now the mob have lost a ton of money and they want revenge.
In retribution, they kill his wife leaving him broken and destitute. At this point, you’re probably thinking that the Stath will go on a satisfying revenge killing spree.
Aha! not so my friends, the mobsters let him live but warn him not to get close to anyone ever again or they’ll butcher them as well. Statham’s character, an ex-cop, ex-cage fighter is now alone and exists in a sort of living death. Now I’m not saying that Jason Statham has great acting range, but then again neither has Harrison Ford. The point is that what he does do, he does very well indeed. Yet in this film (at least to begin with), he plays a broken and depressed man who is contemplating suicide. It’s the first film of his that I have seen where his acting range is really tested and I think that he does a far more credible job than other action stars such as Jet Li, Arnie, Stallone and their ilk.
Anyways, just before Statham is about to hurl himself under a train, he is given a reason to live – a small girl who knows a secret code and is in mortal danger from the Triads needs his protection!
Amid the fistfights and gun play, a “Leon” like relationship develops, whilst the plot offers some further surprising double crosses. The ending in particular is a highlight, neatly subverting the viewers expectations.
It may not be as satisfyingly kinetic as Crank or The Transporter, but it’s more than a throwaway brawl fest. Statham is fast becoming the King of action movies. He’s reached a point where the plot doesn’t matter – people will see the movie because it stars Jason Statham.
Statham usually plays characters with a blue-collar vibe and I think he’d make a far better John Maclain than Bruce Willis in the ever more ridiculous Die Hard franchise. His fight sequences are often close-quarters, grimy affairs and his bull-terrier like stocky frame belies the quick reflexes that characterise the fight scenes.
If you’ve yet to watch any Statham films, then I’d recommend ‘The Bank Job’, ‘The Transporter’ or Crank to be you’re first port of call. Safe is a solid action movie that has a glossy look – which belies the fact that it was made on a reasonably tight budget of $30 million. I’d score it 6.5/10.