Jason Statham has carved himself quite an interesting action career. He has taken up the mantle and carried the action genre on. With no real action heroes, except the return of geriatrics, Statham seems to take any action hero job thrown his way. Most of the time these projects are very similar.
“SAFE” wasn’t a safe movie for Statham even if in some ways it does fall into his repertoire.
In the movie, Statham plays an unlucky ex-NYPD cop turned ultimate fighter. The Russian mob wants a piece of him, his fellow officers want to kick the crap out of him plus he’s broke and homeless.
One day he witnesses a small Chinese girl being chased by a group of men. The girl is scared out of her mind and holds a very harmful secret. So in a cry for redemption and help, Statham steps into the way and helps the girl escape.
The movie becomes one long chase sequence and very little set pieces. It kind of reminded me of that Bruce Willis film “16 Blocks” except with aspects of the Transporter mixed in.
Here’s why it wasn’t safe for Statham. The movie takes a lot of liberties and really doesn’t put everything in black & white like all Statham movies. There are points in the film where Statham’s character’s redemption could go completely off the rails. We never know why he betrayed the NYPD and turned to the Russian mob. And could there be a time where he would use the girl to cash in?
He isn’t just a hero in this. Some of the struggles the character is involved with away from the core plot are also interesting for Statham as an actor. The homeless scenes and society turning on him really show a different side to the man who kicks and asks questions later. There is a duplicitous here that I enjoyed.
3 out of 5
So Says the Soothsayer