Mei (Catherine Chan) is a young girl who has memorised an important code finds herself on the run from two rival gangs – and the police – in New York City. She is not alone, however, she has Luke (Jason Statham), a former cage fighter who has reason to take on the forces pursuing Mei.
If there is one thing Jason Statham is good at, it’s appearing in brainless action movies, and this is exactly what Safe is. This is not necessarily a complaint, just a statement of fact. The pairing of this gruff action hero with a young girl who has had to grow up before her time is actually a great idea. Statham plays the tough guy whose life is ruined by Russian mobsters, the only way for him to keep himself and those around him safe is to disappear, but try as he might, he is unable to lie low. If you have seen any Jason Statham movie ever, then you will know that this role is not much of a stretch for the actor, but he does a fine job of it.
Catherine Chan’s character Mei calls Luke on all of his crap, and is more than able to keep him in check, which makes this unlikely duo work quite well. Chan mixes childlike innocence with an old and clever soul in her role, and for the most part is the perfect foil to Luke.
The story may be a little over complicated, but that’s OK; no-one is paying much attention to the nuance anyway. All we need to know is that the bad guys are out to get our heroes, and we are rooting for them to succeed. If only because some of the ‘Russian’ accents in the film are highly suspect.
The film moves along at a steady enough pace, and the set pieces are strong, violent and over the top enough to keep the audience interested. The body count is high, but it is slightly disappointing that there is not more hand to hand combat throughout the movie, as this is where Statham is at his best.
Writer Director Boaz Yakin has a varied and chequered past; the last film he write was Disney’s ill-fated Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and in 2003 he brought us the cinematic travesty that was Uptown Girls, starring Brittany Murphy. You don’t remember it? You are better off. It seems that Yakin has found a genre that he is comfortable with in Safe; the film is not going to re-invent the wheel, and at times is a little too clever for it’s own good, but it is fast and fun and there is plenty of action. There is not a lot more we could as for, really.
In all, Safe is over the top and incredibly silly, but it is a fast paced action movie with a smart plot. None of the actors step outside of their comfort zones, but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Safe is a lot of fun, but the kind of movie for which you may need to leave your brain at the door.