SYNOPSIS: A second-rate cage fighter on the mixed martial arts circuit, Luke Wright lives a numbing life of routine beatings and chump change...until the day he blows a rigged fight. Wanting to make an example of him, the Russian Mafia murders his family and banishes him from his life forever, leaving Luke to wander the streets of New York destitute, haunted by guilt, and tormented by the knowledge that he will always be watched, and anyone he develops a relationship with will also be killed.
But when he witnesses a frightened twelve-year-old Chinese girl, Mei, being pursued by the same gangsters who killed his wife, Luke impulsively jumps to action...and straight into the heart of a deadly high-stakes war. Mei, he discovers, is no ordinary girl, but an orphaned math prodigy forced to work for the Triads as a "counter." He discovers she holds in her memory a priceless numerical code that the Triads, the Russian mob and a corrupt faction of the NYPD will kill for.
Realizing he's the only person Mei can trust, Luke tears a swath through the city's brutal underworld to save an innocent girl's life...and perhaps even redeem his own.
FILM REVIEW: Every so often a real action movie comes along that deserves the coveted “water-cooler” discussion (usually this accolade is seemingly reserved for sports, sit-coms, drama and romance). Well, Safe can be added to Monday morning’s “water-cooler” ritual. Director Boaz Yakin ('Remember the Titans') knocks this one out of the ball park. The script is well written and every scene is well choreographed. The action is unmistakable, and the dialog is brilliant. This is certainly not your average run-of-the-mill cops and robbers action flick. Statham is brutal, he’s unflinching, and as always, relentless in his performance. Magnificent action sequences that seem as though the intensity is amped up by some astounding editing of the transitional scenes.
Safe, moves against the grain. It delivers exceptional stunts, unpredictable showdowns, and unanticipated excitement. Just when you think that the movie is going the predictable direction of a typical good-guy-bad-guy route, you’re trusted in to the rollercoaster of endless close-quarters hand to hand combat and spectacular car chase scenes.
Trying to find something wrong with the movie was quite challenging and with very little to work with, I came up with what I thought was an annoyance: The “jerky” motion camera tricks used to give the illusion of speedy car chase scenes on city streets. This violent pitching and yawing of the camera is not unlike a scene out of the original Cops television series, where the camera operator seems to have unbridled erratic range of motion. This seems to be quite a popular technique and it took away from the awesomeness of the movie. Additionally, the believability of an eleven year old young Chinese girl schooled in China and brought to the U.S. speaking with very little, if any Chinese accent, after a year was quite far-fetched.
There are a number of pleasant surprises during the movie and at the very end, so get ready for an audience-filled applaud.
Overall, the teaming of Statham and Yakin seems to be an awesome formula and I would not be surprised if there isn’t a follow up sequel in the works. Safe deserves to be recognized for its entertainment value and I give four bright shining stars.
By Movie-Man Stan
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