Safe is one of those lumbering, stupid action movies that should have been shot on sight by a big straight-to-DVD gun as it crashed its way to multiplexes. Occasionally, these unfortunate beasts, ones that would be more at home on the ‘Bargain Chart’ shelves of Tesco, make their way into cinemas, and the experience is not pleasant.
This highly ridiculous actioner stars Jason Statham (or Jaaaasunn Staaathummm) as a binman named Luke who becomes involved in vicious gangs in Manhattan. Nobody seems to have told Jason whether his character is American or British, so he has a stab at both, switching from Dagenham to Brooklyn every other minute.
The plot: A young Chinese girl is being hunted by gangs. She has memorised numbers that unlock a massive safe containing millions of dollars. Russian gangs want her. Chinese gangs want her. The Police want her. And, lucky for her, Jason Statham is there to save her.
Even when you’ve silenced the many questions that arise in your head when watching this story play out (Why? What the hell for? What’s the point of that? Where are we now? What just happened there? Is that meant to be a twist?), there is still little entertainment to be gained. I’m rather fond of Jason. He’s usually good at what he does, but doesn’t always attract the best material. Safe marks a real low point on the Statham-quality-o-metre.
The film is driven by racial stereotypes and excessive violence. Of course, violence in itself isn’t a mark of a bad movie, but Safe desperately relies on brutality to distract people from its awful plot. Our hero (if we can call him that) kills countless people and at one point ties a man up and threatens to rape him. But he is trying to save a little girls life. So that makes it all fine, right? What a great guy.
The story (or what there is of one) trips along at a very fast pace and reminded me of a weak James Patterson novel, only with even less subtlety and worse dialogue. Some scenes may excite you if you have only just discovered the genre of the action thriller.
If I’d seen this late at night as a made-for-TV movie on ITV 4 HD I probably wouldn’t have been so outraged. But as a cinema feature, Safe is dire nonsense. Avoid.
Safe (2012), directed by Boaz Yakin, is distributed by Momentum Pictures, Certificate 15.