Safe, with Jason Statham, Catharine Chan & Chris Sarandon. Boaz Yakin, director (screenplay, ). Statham delivered the goods as a dealer of hard justice with just enough room in his broken heart for the welfare of a little girl. I like these pressure cooker films where they hold back for about thirty minutes, then all hell breaks loose. Statham is a rough & touch ex-extra-special government assassin, who’s seen bad times & is redeemed with a mere glance from a pixie.
Though Statham is fundamentally second rate, I really like him & his work. I’m not a snob & there’s really nothing wrong with second rate, if it does what’s expected. Anyone that knows Statham’s films realizes what they’re going to see (I have a feeling, I’ve said this before regarding him). He’s an action star that is the master of all (yup, every single one) martial arts & his simmering nothingness always astonishes. It’s like, he just eased into the films we periodically see, like hard candy that might break a tooth.
Obviously, I’m leading the cheer on this actor. Positive reinforcement is all important. The parents among my readers understand these things better than Cinema Marc Winger.
There are actually quite a few good old names in this film. Chris Sarandon (an ex-husband of Susan Sarandon) is a familiar face. I remember him initially from the original Fright Night (1985). He’s aged well & tries so very hard to be a good actor. Succeeding slightly. His role as the Mayor of New York City during Statham’s rampage through the gang world is one of studied emphasis on the very few lines he has. Enough lines to be more than just a cameo role. It’s good to see him. This is why people are hoarders. There’s always something in the back room that can be dusted off & stuck on the dining table as a centerpiece. (I’m a little worn out & cranky or I’d scrape up a little kindness at this time.)
James Hong, who was in several of the original Hawaii 5-0‘s, is always (always) a wonderful sight to see. The elder actor has been in several films a year, every year, since time began. His villains (he is an evil Asian kingpin in this) are his best work, in my opinion. They make them durable in Minneapolis. He’s gifted in his work. According to his website, he teaches acting classes; which would be something special to audit.
One of the things I like about Statham is that he doesn’t swing his legs around in death-dealing, karate blows at every instance. It keeps his movies at a safe distance from kung-fu films. Call me ethno-centric, but I get bored with too many karate chops. He definitely chooses to emote using kick-boxing & Western-style (all-inclusive) fighting skills.
The pace of this movie is quick & violent after the above-said beginning. Usually Statham’s characters have at least one or two moments of smiling but in this tumbling adventure there is to be no grins. Deadly retribution is the name of the game.
I recommend this film for those special moments when you really want someone else to let off steam. You’ll definitely be a calmer person after it’s done.