Safe | Film Reviews | Salt Lake City Weekly
DONATE

Safe 

Bloody mayhem and a subtle grand sweep

Pin It
Favorite
click to enlarge Safe
  • Safe

Those who crave the usual Jason Statham experience—as seen in Death Race, the Transporter flicks, etc.—will still love Safe; it’s brutally violent, and features lots of bloody mayhem. But those who don’t mind bloody mayhem as long as it’s accompanied by something meatier are in for a treat. With small, sharply observed touches, writer-director Boaz Yakin has created something extraordinary: a cynical dark fantasy that fashions a new mythos of post-9/11 New York City, a bleak world of organized crime finding a new footing with law-enforcement attention focused on terrorism—and a place in which the tiny slice of the NYPD left to fend with the Russian mob and the Chinese Triads is just one more gang vying for supremacy.

Statham’s Luke Wright is an all-around badass who was once an elite agent recruited into the NYPD after 9/11, now on the outs with that agency. He also has pissed off the Russians, and is enduring a punishment that’s ingeniously cruel in its design to crush his humanity.

I’ve barely seen Statham present anything close to human onscreen, yet here he’s totally compelling in portraying a man suffering under his forced disconnect from everyone around him. It’s downright poignant—and it sets the main action of the story in motion, when Luke comes to the aid of 11-year-old human computer Mei (Catherine Chan), a pawn in the triangular war between the Russians, the Chinese and the NYPD. Mei is pretty badass herself, a canny operator and an able partner for Luke as they unravel Chinese gang boss Han Jiao’s (James Hong) plan for the Very Important Number Mei is holding in her head.

There’s a subtle grand sweep to Safe. It feels like it’s just barely scratching the surface of a new world we haven’t quite seen before—one in which there’s no room for cheap or easy sentiment, bringing a complex, thorny humanity back to a genre that had forgotten it.

SAFE

3_5_stars.gif

Jason Statham, Catherine Chan
Rated R

Pin It
Favorite

Speaking of ,

  • Walk of Shame, The Lego Movie

    New DVD/VOD Tuesday, June 17
    • Jun 16, 2014
  • Drinking-Class Zero

    Following a night of drinking, Wendy Simpson, 25, walked to a McDonald’s restaurant in West Yorkshire, England, where she was told that the counter was closed and only the drive-through was open but that she couldn’t be served
    • Jun 16, 2014
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2

    Dragon 2 shows DreamWorks is still willing to be daring
    • Jun 13, 2014
  • More »

More by MaryAnn Johanson

  • Fall Features

    A preview of the cinema offerings coming to big and small screens before year-end.
    • Sep 7, 2022
  • I'm a Big Kid Now

    Orphan: First Kill improves a bit on the original, but with a problem in its central character.
    • Aug 17, 2022
  • More »

Latest in Film Reviews

Readers also liked…

  • Power Plays

    Two satirical comedies explore manipulations and self-delusions by those with power.
    • Aug 31, 2022

© 2023 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation