What did RAMA think of the movie?
Usually with Jason Statham movies, you can use one review for all of them, ’cause you pretty much get the same deal. Only Jason Statham could make one man vs. 20 people look ridiculous and exciting at the same time. But let’s face it, those of us who grew up watching Sly, Arnold, and Bruce kickin’ ass left and right, kinda miss those good ol days, but thankfully Statham stepped up and answered the call. SAFE, which hits theaters this weekend, is a flawed but a high adrenaline rush that will entertain action fans everywhere…
A second-rate cage fighter on the mixed martial arts circuit, Luke Wright lives a numbing life of routine beatings and chump change…until the day he blows a rigged fight. Wanting to make an example of him, the Russian Mafia murders his family and banishes him from his life forever, leaving Luke to wander the streets of New York destitute, haunted by guilt, and tormented by the knowledge that he will always be watched, and anyone he develops a relationship with will also be killed.
But when he witnesses a frightened twelve-year-old Chinese girl, Mei, being pursued by the same gangsters who killed his wife, Luke impulsively jumps to action…and straight into the heart of a deadly high-stakes war. Mei, he discovers, is no ordinary girl, but an orphaned math prodigy forced to work for the Triads as a “counter.” He discovers she holds in her memory a priceless numerical code that the Triads, the Russian mob and a corrupt faction of the NYPD will kill for.
Realizing he’s the only person Mei can trust, Luke tears a swath through the city’s brutal underworld to save an innocent girl’s life…and perhaps even redeem his own.
There’s a bit of Leon The Professional element to this film, which to me is an added bonus because I’ve always considered The Professional a classic.
Statham plays Luke, a man who’s at the end of his journey, his wife was killed by the mob, his cop buddies hated him because he was too honest, he’s basically homeless and without hope. But his instincts are still intact and those are what lead him to Mei, a brilliant prodigy who’s priceless because of the set of numbers she’s kept in her memory, a set of numbers that dirty cops and the mobs are trying to get their hands on.
A good chunk of the film is invested in developing these two characters before they get to meet. But director Boaz Yakin knows that he’s dealing with action fans, and action fans, like you and me, genuinely have short attention span because they want to get to the good stuff and by that I mean the gunfights and the car-chases and the kicks to the head. And so in the effort to introduce these two characters, Yakin plays it in a well-paced manner, it even allows Statham to briefly show the world that he could shed a tear if he works it hard enough.
Once the action starts, as soon as Statham’s character feels protective of Mei, it goes hardcore and pulse pounding from that point forward, there’s no looking back. I enjoy how the mobs are ridiculously reckless in this film, with no consideration whatsoever. Because neither side, Russian or Chinese, will hold back when it comes to showdowns and bloodspill, which make them all the more dangerous and unpredictable.
It’s no Statham movie without one or two far-fetched moments like using a human to land from a two story fall, or the fact that Statham always leaves a chaotic scene without a single scratch but you get what you pay for.
And that little girl Mei is no insignificant supporting actor, she’d talk back, you sympathize for both characters and you want to see them survive their ordeal somehow. SAFE packs enough weapons and surprises around every corner to keep you satisfied.
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