Published April 26, 2012
Jason Statham’s latest actionpalooza “Safe” is unsuitably hilarious, although that’s probably not the film’s intended reaction.
“Safe” skyrockets absurdity to a whole new level posing the perplexing questions: is this intentionally a comedy? Or is “Safe” so preposterously serious that it’s laughable? Either way, it’s hard not to chuckle at this overblown crime flick.
Orphaned Chinese prodigy Mei is a hot commodity on the New York City crime circuit since she is the only person with knowledge of a combination to a secret vault with quite a bit of greenbacks. Fleeing the entire tri-state criminal underworld, including the Chinese and Russian mafia, corrupt city police detectives and dirty politicians, Mei is rescued by vengeful ex-cop and MMA fighter Jason Statham (playing the typical Jason Statham role).
Somehow all the bad guys are also connected to the death of Statham’s family. So, he angrily vows to keep Mei safe and enact revenge by attempting to steal the loot by finding and opening said safe. What’s the name of this movie again?
Boaz Yakin, the director of the recent sports classic “Remember the Titans,” directs this action movie with as much restraint as using a blowtorch to light a scented candle. “Safe” guns for the grittiness of a Michael Mann crime drama and the wittiness and violence of a Tarantino film but repeatedly trips over itself and blindly limps its way in the wrong direction.
What we get is an awkward substitute more in line with a video game than a film. We are rushed from car chases that wreak havoc throughout New York City to utterly ridiculous and catastrophic machine gun fights in posh restaurants and hotel lobbies. The only time the film stops to breathe is to estimate the body count during the end credits.
When Statham isn’t running on top of subway cars or single handedly gunning down five hundred mafia guys with his sardonic gaze and debilitating one-liners, we are unapologetically treated to scenes with the various villains saying ridiculously villainy lines. It all feels so clichéd it’s rather funny, like a big budget “Saturday Night Live” skit.
See “Safe” for the absolute absurdity of the show, but don’t expect much more than raised eyebrows.