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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, impactful spy action thriller
Safe House might revolve around a tediously old-hat mcguffin (a data file? please...) but it's saved by the enthusiasm of it's director Daniel Espinosa and its charismatic stars. Washington plays 'rogue' CIA agent Tobin Frost with a wolfish charm and a manipulative streak that keep you wondering whether he's as traitorous as its claimed. Ryan Reynolds plays his junior CIA...
Published on 11 July 2012 by Benminx

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An action film by the numbers
Denzel Washington plays an ex CIA agent/special forces operative (to be honest, I forget) who gets captured and taken to the (official) CIA's most inept hideout which is promptly overrun by baddies and everyone is killed. Everyone that is, apart from plucky Ryan Reynolds who is basically the CIA's caretaker of the unsafe safe house. He therefore has to rescue Washington...
Published 22 months ago by Albatross


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An action film by the numbers, 20 Nov 2012
This review is from: Safe House [DVD] (DVD)
Denzel Washington plays an ex CIA agent/special forces operative (to be honest, I forget) who gets captured and taken to the (official) CIA's most inept hideout which is promptly overrun by baddies and everyone is killed. Everyone that is, apart from plucky Ryan Reynolds who is basically the CIA's caretaker of the unsafe safe house. He therefore has to rescue Washington and escort him to safety, all the time being pursued by baddies who can wipe out a professional CIA team in seconds, but can't shoot an untrained agent and his shackled prisoner.

I can suspend my disbelief to accept all that. There's car chases, slick camera work, shoot-outs and punch-up - pretty much everything you'd expect from a modern action film. But it's still only average. The only thing that elevates it from being VERY average is Denzil Washington who, as usual, turns in a pretty decent performance, given what he has to work with. He snarls, charms and punches his way through most situations and Ryan Reynolds seems to have good chemistry with him in his attempts at keeping him both safe and cuffed at the same time.

If anyone else was in the film it would simply be average, but if you like the sound of another car chase-laden action film with a better than average cast, give this one a go. It might be slightly longer than your average action flick, but it's entertaining enough not to bore.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, impactful spy action thriller, 11 July 2012
Safe House might revolve around a tediously old-hat mcguffin (a data file? please...) but it's saved by the enthusiasm of it's director Daniel Espinosa and its charismatic stars. Washington plays 'rogue' CIA agent Tobin Frost with a wolfish charm and a manipulative streak that keep you wondering whether he's as traitorous as its claimed. Ryan Reynolds plays his junior CIA agent dead straight, without any of his usual lighthearted comedy. This makes for a wise choice, giving Denzel all the rogueish charm and letting us root for Reynolds as the scared rookie in over his head.

Espinosa is a good choice for director, and handles the initial safe-house assault (and a lengthy car chase) with a fantastic sense of tension and rhythm. The violence is loud and stunning, and the use of sudden flickers of lighting and bursts of movement make it feel full of dramatic impact.

The car chase is superb, and one of the highlights of the movie due to skillful direction and whip-fast editing. However, Espinosa does occasionally slip into 'shakycam' fanboy territory, getting up too close, and too shaky to properly convey what's going on. To begin with this adds to the atmosphere, but it gets intrusive. Luckily he quickly calms down.

On the topic of filming, the film has a similarly grainy 'real world' look to Matt Damon's 'Green Zone', and so although the dominant saturated colours of black, orange and brown used in almost every scene make the landscape and action look gorgeous, I wouldn't expect Blu-Ray to offer many benefits over DVD.

The supporting cast are uniformly good, the plot is serviceable, and the film keeps moving at a fast enough pace to remain exciting. It also managed to make the audience I was with jump at least 4 times with sudden shocks.

Good fun, with a colourful and varied South-African setting and some very decent action set-pieces. A good choice as a straight-faced and violent spy action movie.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth watching., 9 Jun 2012
By 
Valerie J. (West Yorks, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Safe House [DVD] (DVD)
Denzil Washington is back on our screens in this action thriller as Tobin Frost a rogue CIA agent on the run. But he's not on the run alone, he's escorted by Matt Weston, the young CIA agent (Ryan Reynolds), who was supposed to keep Frost nicely safe and locked up in a Safe House pending interrogation by the CIA. But that plan went pear-shaped when a bunch of guys from who-knows-where blasted the big steel door off and came charging in, guns blazing and didn't seem to care who they shot as long as it wasn't each other. Weston wants to know why Frost is such hot property, Frost wants to know why he was getting shot at too. We, the audience, know that Frost is carrying a secret, a list of people. If it gets into the wrong hands and becomes public then a lot of the world's secret agencies are going to be very unhappy bunnies. Frost was about to get millions for the sale of the list until other men in black got in his way and he had to turn himself in to stay alive. Can our Denzel really be a baddy? Watch the movie and find out. It certainly looks that way.

Safe House has received mixed reviews from Joe Public but while I accept it isn't a top notch thriller, I enjoyed it. I watched it without expectations which is always a good thing. Bits of it felt like watching a Bourne movie although I didn't think the fight sequences were choreographed half as excitingly, and I didn't think the car chase scenes were half as 'exhilarating' as Jason Bourne driving that mini in Bourne Identity. You have to decide for yourself and I suggest you check out one or two YouTube clips to get a better impression than can be given in written reviews. You must remember the times that someone has told you they hated a movie and you liked it, and vice versa. I think a lot of the disappointment is down to expectations and it seems that a lot of movie watchers nowadays want a lot less drama and a lot more blood with their popcorn. But, personally, I don't enjoy watching a movie without some quiet moments to contrast with the action. Also, with Denzel Washington, the bar is perhaps set unrealistically high.

There are a few very familiar faces in this, apart from Denzel. Ryan Reynolds was in X:Men Origins - Wolverine. Vera Farmiga was in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Source Code. Brendan Gleeson was in In Bruges, Breakfast on Pluto and stars as Alastair 'Mad Eye' Moody in some of the Harry Potter movies. The lovely Sam Shepard also has a small role. He's looking a little older nowadays (aren't we all?) One of my favourite films starring him recently is Black Hawk Down (2011).

Oh, and the movie has an excellent soundtrack, I think. You can check it out on iTunes.

Further reviews of mine can be seen at: Movies and Books World, shown on my profile. Thanks for reading this. x
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great, 27 Jun 2012
This review is from: Safe House [DVD] (DVD)
suppose it was same old same old, i.e CIA , chase type scenes, double crossing, but the action is great, not stop shooting and car chases and not far fetched like crank movies.
the flow of the film is great, keep me interested to the end.
glad i never read the negative reviews and just watched it, recommend if you like bourne, salt type movies.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining action-thriller, 6 Jun 2012
By 
J. Morris "Josh" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Safe House [DVD] (DVD)
Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds -Waiting) is a house-keeper. For the CIA. His job involves keeping and tending to a secure agency location in Cape Town, South Africa. Matt is going out of his mind with boredom and pleads with CIA director & mentor David Barlow (Brendan Gleeson - The Guard) to find him another placement as 12 months and not a single house-guest has left him no chance to prove himself to the agency. That is until CIA turncoat Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington - Man On Fire) turns himself in unexpectedly at the US Consulate. Transferred to Matt's safe-house with a heavy-fire team, this looks like Matt's chance until the team are all killed by the people chasing Frost. With no other CIA assets in the area, it's now up to Matt to take care of his ward and deliver him to the agency, will Matt manage to stay alive for long enough to deliver Frost? Are things that straight forward?

Safe House is a tense and well-filmed affair; credit to director Daniel Espinosa, filmed in the picturesque surrounds of South Africa. It's a high-tension affair with a lone agent endlessly pursued by a heavily-armed force all the while trying to transport his prisoner, who is playing psychological games with him the entire time. It's a great performance from Washington, but he has played this type of role many times. Ryan Reynolds is good here, but it's not a runaway performance by any means despite the fantastic box-office figures ($85m budget, $202m generated) thanks to choppy action sequences, that look like they are frenetic, but you just end up losing track when you are left watching an 115-minute long alternating stream of gunshots and car-crashes, back-dropped by some thinly-described CIA conspiracy story.

Extra Content: A featurette titled: "Behind the Action" - interesting seeing the fights inside of a car, but ultimately, nothing too outlandish.

Recommended for a pulse-heightening action movie, but it's not going to blow you away despite solid performances from the actors.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'SOME GOOD ACTION SEQUENCES ON-BOARD', 29 May 2014
By 
rbmusicman (U.K) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
'Tobin Frost' (Denzel Washington) once a highly regarded 'C.I.A' 'op's' agent has long since betrayed his country and has been on the run for the last ten years.
He's in possesion of a 'file' which could seriously damage many high-flying agents around the globe.
He is chased by a large number of mercanaries and to escape walks into a u.s compound to save himself, he has in effect given himself up for questioning.
'Tobin' is taken to a 'south-african' safe house which soon becomes a target for the heavily armed mercenaries he'd earlier tried to escape from.
Many of the safehouse guards are killed in the attack, the rookie 'Matt Weston'( Ryan Reynolds) is given the job by a dying colleague of getting 'Frost' out of the building safely.
The two become the persued, can the rookie 'housekeeper' keep hold of his charge, who, in truth has years of expierience and will be difficult to handle, esspecially given the numbers in pursuit.
Someone of course gave the mercanaries the information of the original safehouse's location, but who ?, leaving one or two trust issues for 'Matt'
The film did in truth fall a little short of what i had hoped for in the excitement stakes, however, there is a super car chase and several super gunfight and action sequences, making the film worth a spin.S
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'll take it from here...., 14 Mar 2014
Tobin Frost is a CIA agent who's turned rogue. When he is pursued by men who want to kill him, he goes to the American Consulate where he knows he will be arrested.

When the CIA learns of this, it's decided to bring him to a safe house in Capetown. Shortly after they arrive, the men who chased Frost storm the safe house and kill everyone there.

Matt Weston, the agent who's tasked with looking after the safe house, is the only one left, so he takes Frost and they go on the run. While on the run, Frost tells Weston that the only way those men found the safe house was that someone on the inside told them about it.

Eventually Frost escapes and Weston is told to report to Langley but just as he's about to, he recalls something that Frost did that helps him figure out where he could be going.

But just as he arrives, the men who are after Frost show up but Weston saves him and they head off. But Weston knows that Frost is holding something back....

Denzel Washington is one of those actors that can open a movie regardless of the content. And here is another example. It's your usual story of corruption in the government, and Washington holds the answer.

It's another great performance from the actor, but Frost is a different kind of character to the ones we are used to seeing.

If you mix Harris from Training day and Creasey from Man on Fire, you comes up with the closest answer to Frost. The character on paper is despicable, but once the film gets going, he's not all bad after all, but still carries an evil streak with him.

Reynolds has never been better than his performance here, and proves he has acting chops as well as the looks. The narrative is good, and the action is very loud and up close, but not as irritating as some are saying.

So all in all, it's nothing special, you can pretty much work out who the bad guy is in the first five minute, but thanks to Washington and Reynolds, an average thriller, becomes thrilling.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ACTION, ACTION, ACTION!!!, 8 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Safe House [DVD] (DVD)
As good, if not better than Bourne. A well made action flick, with great performances, which takes you on a non-stop roller coaster ride. recommended as it is a clever, fast and entertaining romp
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The new Jason Bourne?, 13 Jun 2013
By 
This review is from: Safe House [DVD] (DVD)
The director/producers of this terrific thriller may have wanted to create something akin to the Matt Damon series of Bourne films:They have done a reasonable job.

Much more gritty,realistic violence and CIA insider traitors have the hallmark of [ASIN:B0011LYEDQ The Ultimate Bourne Collection Steel box set [2007] [DVD]]].

In addition we get two action heroes played by Denzil Washington and Ryan Reynolds.The former is rogue whose agenda is to expose covert traitors from all the international espionage agencies and knowing that he'll need funds to disappear safely and securely.

The other is almost a novice but he can sure fight!The bonus footage with the DVD reveals the realism of the fight scenes as well as the expertise used in staging the exciting car chase scenes.Well worth a look.

As an action/thriller this is up there with the best of 'em.And the only thing missing from the cast listing is the name Bourne.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Locales, 11 Mar 2012
By 
Mr. A. J. Richards "yourbiteall" (Weston Super Mare) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Safe House [DVD] (DVD)
A film does not always have to be intellectually demanding or challenging. When it isn't, it can still be reviewed on it's own merits. Safe House falls short of a great action thriller, In fact it falls just short of a good one too, but it is not totally devoid of entertainment, at least. it is not a complete waste of time.

The action in Safe House, while repetitive, is quick, fluid and enjoyably prevalent; the storm of gunfire and screams of pain are sure to be heard throughout the theater. The snappy action is sure to please most action junkies, without ostracizing observers who came for more. Plus there are some great locations used, South Africa has its own filmic playground it seems.

One thing that this film really needs, though, is a conformity to the audience. The empathetic connection that audiences build with a character is vital in any film, but it can be especially important in action films. Every generic thriller/action flick has fast action and showy effects, but you will not really care about what happens in the end. That lack of involvement is one of the major blemishes in Safe House. With a shower and a brief boredom montage being the only scenes before the action begins, Safe House seems to miss out on any attachment to the main character. By jumping into the main plot so quickly, there was no time to affiliate to Reynolds' character (or any character, for that matter).

16 Blocks, a less seen thriller with Bruce Willis as cop and Mos Def as the perp, was probably better. Denzel deserves better. Alonzo Harris would have Tobin Frost for breakfast.
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Safe House [DVD]
Safe House [DVD] by Daniel Espinosa (DVD - 2012)
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