Capsule Movie Review – Safe (2012)
by HELEN GEIB
Hollywood never tires of peddling left-wing paranoid conspiracy theories. Safe‘s is only the most outlandish element of an over-complicated plot also involving the Chinese mob, the Russian mob, crooked NYC cops, official corruption at the highest levels, a scruffy tough-guy hero, and a cute Chinese girl who is a math savant. Some screenwriters would have considered that sufficient story material for a 95-minute action thriller without giving the hero backstory enough for seven good badmen. Convincing? No. Entertaining? For the most part, yes. The movie takes a little while to get going but once it does, it really gets going. It is, as they say, action-packed. Plus, I like a hero with a brain behind his fists of fury. Jason Statham’s range is limited, but he’s effective within that range and writer-director Boaz Yakin doesn’t ask him to stretch. The girl (newcomer Catherine Chan) is spunky and just plain adorable. The bad guys are colorful; three of them are played by scene-stealing actors James Hong, Robert John Burke, and Chris Sarandon. Some of the dialogue crackles. And it has one of those moments- one of those great movie moments that make you and everyone around you in the theater erupt into spontaneous laughter and cheers. I can’t be too hard on it after that.
2 1/2 stars
One thing I liked and one thing I didn’t like: Somebody uses the word “internecine” in a totally natural way. Enough with the Russian mafia already, it isn’t the only politically-correct generic baddie in the world.