I’m sure you could gather by the trailers of the film, but Safe is your typical Jason Statham action flick. 11-year-old Mei (Catherine Chan) is abducted and forced to work for ruthless Chinese gangsters due to her extraordinary skills in memorization and mathematics. When Mei is given a numerical code to a safe containing 30 million dollars, the Triad, the Russian mafia, and corrupt New York officials all want her – dead or alive. The only real twist in Safe is the insertion of a small child in the midst of every bloodbath. Plot wise, the story consistently reveals so many double crossers and twists that it’s sometimes difficult to keep up.
However, the editing is keen, with snazzy transitions, and the fight choreograhy deserves a special mention, cleverly put together and making full and amusing use of props. Somehow all the bad guys are also connected to the death of Statham’s family. He’s the only honest cop in Manhattan, has a soft spot for victims of social injustice, and can kick some ass. The tie-ins are largely unbelievable, but although boomingly extravagant, it’s never augmented by the annoying shaky cam. That is, if you like that kind of thing…blood, guts, and bruises that is.
There’s a good reason why his most memorable fight scenes tend to unfold in warehouses and garages, as his characters always give off a distinctly blue-collar vibe. So if Jason Statham’s character in Safe isn’t particularly distinguishable from the intense, should I really care? Should anyone walk into this movie expecting more? Mr. Statham never phones it in, though his roles can seem to be one long version of the same guy. The director does a great job of playing with our perceptions of Statham in the film’s final moments, but that’s best left unspoiled.
So, should you see this? Well after the inital story line gets underway, its staight up action, Stath-style. If that appeals to you, then by all means this should whet your appetite until Expendables 2. The fact that Statham’s main co-star, a little girl, witnesses much of this violence with barely a wince says a lot about where the filmmakers’ heads are. Maybe she is just extra bad ass because she is Asian? Also mixed in are a bunch of rogue police as brutal and corrupt as any of the crooks, but hey, its all relative to a Statham film, right? Jason Statham, as Jason Statham, in a Jason Statham film starring Jason Statham doing Jason Statham-ey things…