Director: Boaz Yakin
Starring: Jason Statham, Catherine Chan, Chris Sarandon
The only difference between Safe and every other Jason Statham movie is that it is the one with the little girl in it. That is not meant to be a knock on Statham, just a way of acknowledging that he is a guy who knows what he is good at so keeps doing it. Statham is, today, what so many of his Expendables co-stars were 20-30 years ago. He is one of the last in a dying breed of Hollywood tough guys. After starting out in Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, Statham has carved out a career for himself in short-titled action movies like The Transporter, Crank, Death Race and The Mechanic. In Safe we get more of the same.
This time around Statham plays Luke Wright, who upon spotting a little girl hiding from some big, scary looking dudes appoints himself her protector. What he doesn’t know is this little girl is a maths prodigy who knows the combination of numbers required to open a safe containing $30million. This piece of knowledge places her square in the middle of a fight between the Triads, the Russian mafia and a unit of corrupt New York cops (you can just imagine the light bulb moment when the producer tossing up whether to do Statham vs. the Triads, Statham vs. the Russian Mafia or Statham vs. corrupt cops thought, “Why not do all three?”). However, what none of them know is that Luke Wright is a highly trained, cage-fighting, ex-elite agent who specialises in taking out the garbage. Chaos, chases and butt-kicking ensues.
Statham is the best going around at what he does, but while what he does would have seen him headlining some of the year’s biggest blockbusters in the 1980s and 1990s, today it means catering to a niche market. You know what you’re getting with a Jason Statham movie, and Safe delivers just that, nothing more and nothing less. The teaming up of Statham with a little girl attempts to give the movie a heart and provides a comic touch without falling into the goofball territory that the ‘tough-guys and kids’ movies of The Rock, Vin Diesel and Hulk Hogan tend to find themselves in, but really Safe does nothing to distinguish itself from the rest.
Rating – ★★★
Review by Duncan McLean