After browsing Netflix for what seemed to be hours myself and my two flat mates finally reduced our options to Badass and Safe. Unable to decide we resorted to the age old method of rock, paper, scissors to decide our evening’s entertainment. Secretly I was rooting for Badass to win based on my love for Danny Trejo and thinking it would be a film reminiscent to Machete. However after a tense battle, Safe emerged the victor which originally dissapointed me but boy am I glad I watched Safe.
Whilst Jason Statham have always been a guilty pleasure of mine, I often find his films lacking in quality, always feeling that he is just meandering from one fight to another. However Safe (directed by Boaz Yakin) is different, with a somewhat complex plot based on Statham’s character as he battles to save a little girl from both the Russian and Chinese mobsters and also dealing with rogue police unit out for his blood and money.
Statham’s character Luke Wright is down on his luck after the murder of his wife and the promise of death to anyone he makes friends with. After resigning himself to suicide, a chance encounter with Mei (played by Catherine Chan) leads to chaos on the subway resulting in the revenge killing of a few of his Russian ‘friends’ including a particularly painful moment involving a pole and what used to be a Russian’s balls. Mei with her so called “American attitude” quickly grows on Statham’s character, giving him hope in his bleak existence. Perhaps this is a comment on our current society and its lack of faith in the younger generations, however as this is me going into my A-level mode and over-analysing everything i’ll digress and move back to the review.
The action scenes in Safe are both varied and violent, ranging from explosive gun battles to Statham vs the world hand to hand combat. It keeps the viewer entertained and shows off Statham’s true talent for martial arts. The body count in this film is supposedly 82, yet it feels like so much more. Further discussion after the film with my flatmates led to one claiming it felt like “basically everyone in New York” was killed. Our favourite violent moment of many comes during a Chinese raid on the hotel Statham’s character is staying in, *MOMENTSPOILER*after threatening the innocent bystanders in the hotel the chinese mobster shoots a man in cold blood to prove a point. Whilst this makes us sound sadomasochistic it is the delivery of the speech by Reggie Lee and the unexpectedness of his actions that both shocked and amused us. *SPOILEROVER*
A criticism of Jason Statham is that he reminds many of the action stars of the past such as Steven Seagal and Jean Claude Van Damme and that whilst he is certainly skilled in martial arts, it is believed by many that his acting skills are lacking. However a string of recent performances in films such as Hummingbird, Parker and Redemption as well as Safe has shown that he is indeed worthy of the title of Actor. Whilst portraying similar characters in his films, his hard image is often cracked as he shows the range of emotions he is capable of portaying, even shedding a believable tear. It creates a likeable character that the spectator actually finds themself caring about his character and allows us to empathise with his character.
Statham is almost always the star of any movie he stars in (expendables definitely not included) and this is certainly the case here. Whilst Catherine Chan delivers a solid performance as Mei the accent feels very stereotyped and fake, although it is hard for even the most gifted actor or actress to adopt an accent dissimilar to their own and as such does not reflect badly on young Chan. She does well to change an audience member’s opinion of her, despite her young age the phrase adopted by my flatmates and I to anything she did was “Little Bitch”, mainly due to her being rude and disrespectful to our protagonist. However she soon grows on you and it led to us cheering and yelling “go on lass” as she delivers her lines to the ‘baddies’ in the film.
Safe in my opinion is a film stereotypically for men, delivering us a testosterone fueled package involving, guns, violence and just general bad-assery from Statham. Fortunately for any female fans persuaded to watch this by a boyfriend, father or brother there is an interesting story and decent acting which should be enough to keep anyone entertained. IMDB rated Safe as a 6.5/10, I on the other hand rate this film much higher. Safe is probably one of the best films I’ve seen in a while and as such I rate it a solid 8/10. I certainly recommend it to anyone, although men will never look at a subway/tube railing the same way again.