Action superstar Jason Statham teams up with director Boaz Yakin for Safe, which follows a beat up and broken down ex-cop as he protects a young girl from the Russians, Triads and corrupt cops. Safe might look like your average Statham B-movie on paper, but the result is actually an entertaining action flick that contains expertly shot action sequences and enough blood and violence to keep anyone entertained from start to finish.
Luke Wright (Jason Statham) used to be one of the finest New York City cops once upon a time, but something happened and he now participates in mixed martial arts fights in New Jersey. His former police partners have abandoned him and because of certain situations his wife was killed, leaving him with nothing and no one. He really doesn’t care about his life anymore and just when he’s about to end it all he finds a reason to continue living.
The reason comes in the form of a young girl named Mei (Catherine Chan). Mei was taken from her home in China and forced into the illegal world of the Triads because she has a knack for memorizing long sequences of numbers and codes, which leaves no trail for the police to track.
The Triads give Mei a number for a safe combination and from the second Mei walks out of the office almost everyone seems to be on the attack for that number. The Russian mob steps in to try and take over the Triads action and even several corrupt police officers try to take a slice of the pie. Everyone in New York City seems to be after Mei and the number.
Luke runs into Mei at a subway station and from that point on he promises to do whatever he can to keep her alive and safe, because running into Mei saved his own life and now he must return the favor.
Safe steals almost its entire story and formula from other Jason Statham-starring B-movies, but while doing so it also becomes a surprisingly well-filmed action flick, thanks to Boaz Yakin‘s direction. Yakin takes what could have been pretty simple action sequences and fills them with fresh camera angles and lots of free-flowing movement. This translates into a better than expected Statham action film that most didn’t even bother seeing during its brief theatrical run.
The story doesn’t introduce anything new to the film, but it’s also thin enough to allow for a quick and digestible viewing that goes by in a breeze. Watching Safe is painless and rewarding, thanks to Yakin’s direction and Statham’s continuing onscreen ability to kick ass on command without a single hiccup.
At the end of the day your enjoyment with a film like Safe comes from how much you’re expecting. If you’re looking for another Statham Redbox rental then you might be surprised by how much well-choreographed action is in the film, but if you’re actually expecting an honest to god quality film with top-notch performances and an enduring story, you might want to look elsewhere. Safe is mindless entertainment done up with a little more style and craft than one might expect.
Lionsgate’s 1080p video transfer is sharp as can be. Safe boasts a lot of dark blacks and gritty street-level shots and the transfer is shaded properly and comes with only a few minor smudges and smears. I couldn’t find any inconsistency while watching the film and was mostly impressed by the deep levels of blues and blacks and the subtle layer of grain added for effect.
The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track will shoot holes in your sofa, because the track is a shoot ‘em up fans wet dream. Bullets fly from channel to channel with ease as dialogue is integrated into the front channels. There are a lot of shootout scenes that mix the gunfire with heavy bass and dynamics as Statham shoots and punches his way around the streets.
Safe comes to Blu-Ray with the following bonus material:
- Director Commentary
- Cracking Safe (HD)
- Criminal Background (HD)
- The Art of the Gunfight (HD)
- Digital Copy
- UltraViolet Digital Copy
I think most will be impressed with the end result of Safe. The trailers painted it to be another Statham B-movie, loaded with generic shootouts and plot twists, but the actuality of it is slightly better. Safe is generic when it comes to the plot and the twists and turns, but the actual action is filmed with a fresh set of eyes by director Boaz Yakin. One of the special features actually highlights the gunfights and how Yakin prepared them for the film.
It’s incredibly refreshing watching something like Safe when comparing it to any of Statham’s other throwaway films from the past year or two. Safe effectively uses Statham’s skills as an action star and worries less on the second-rate cop drama and more on the high-octane action sequences that are loud and explosive.
Liongate’s Blu-Ray brings the action picture to high definition with a dark and grainy image transfer and an immersive 7.1 audio mix that’ll have you ducking behind the couch after every scene. Safe is Jason Statham doing what he does best and that’s kicking tons of ass and shooting lots of bullets, with little interference or distractions.