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A safe bet for an action flick
on 11 September 2012
Being a self-confessed fan of Jason Statham (yes, I am seeking professional help for this affliction) I was looking forward to Safe - a film where the cheeky half cockney/half New Yorker takes a young girl under his muscular wing in order to protect her from not just the Triads, but Russian mobsters and even a branch of dirty cops.
Obviously we know that `the Stath' will win though, kicking many heads along the way, but it's the journey we're interested in.
Many people will have seen him do something similar in the Transporter (1 through however many have been made since I wrote this). And he did it well for that franchise, i.e. despatching armies of incompetent bad guys without a bead of sweat trickling off his shiny dome. However, here, in Safe, it all gets a little too serious.
Statham's previous efforts seem to have a degree of `knowingness' about them, as if they're just a little tongue-in-cheek (think Roger Moore's James Bond stint, but with less hair of course). In Safe, the bad guys are indeed ten-a-penny and pretty generic. In fact, there's barely one that you'll remember - just see them as Russian Hood #12 and Dirty Cop #4 and that's about as much character development as you're going to get there.
Other people have drawn comparisons with the Bruce Willis film Mercury Rising, where he has to protect a youngster from all sorts of gangs. I haven't seen that one, so I can't comment.
Overall, Safe isn't bad. There are shootouts. There are fist-fights and even a car chase or two. However, it all just seems a little run-of-the-mill. With the Transporter franchise you had flashy sets and over-the-top action. Here, you have the grimy backdrop of New York at night and a feeling you've seen most of this before.
Okay, probably most enjoyed by Statham die-hards, but if you're looking for a generic action flick to fill 1 hr 20 minutes, you could do worse than Safe.
Not bad, just nothing that special. Roll on Expendables 3 (or 8, depending on how long they drag the franchise out for).