Friday, June 15, 2012

"Safe House" Review

    In an action movie, never trust anything that's called "safe". It usually isn't. This is Safe House!

Spoiler Alert!

    Released back in March of this year, Safe House follows Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds), who works as a "housekeeper" for the CIA. Under the supervision of his mentor, David Barlow (Brendan Gleeson), he watches over a safe house, waiting to one day see some real action. That day comes, when infamous rouge agent Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) is finally captured and brought to Weston's safe house for questioning.
    And of course it all goes wrong when the mysterious mercenary Vargas (Fares Fares) attacks the safe house, causing Weston to flee with Frost. With Barlow and another CIA handler Catherine Linklater (Vera Farmiga) watching over them, Weston attempts to escort Frost to another safe house.

Yes, that's his actual hair.
    Safe House is one of those action movies that comes fully stocked with shaky-cam action scenes and a plot that seems to think it's much smarter than it actually is. It would come as no surprise to everyone to learn that Frost might not be as bad a guy as the CIA says he is, or that he has some sort of mysterious mission going on throughout the whole movie. And unfortunately, as good as a performance Washington gives, and as much as the film tries to tell us so, Frost never comes off as quite the criminal mastermind the film wants him to be. He rarely engages in the "mind games" that trailers promised and he often isn't very subtle about what he's doing.
    Not that it matters. Bryan Gleeson is the true villain over the movie, chasing after Frost for a list of corrupt CIA operatives that his name is on. Gleeson is very obvious as the real bad guy, as anyone whose ever scene any action movie in the last year or so could probably guess. And that list he's chasing after? Ya, I only kinda understand what that's all about. Director Daniel Espinosa (This is his first real "big" movie) goes the "style over substance" route with the film. The plot takes a backseat to the heavily edited chase scenes and shootouts, none of which are incredibly memorable. I'll give him credit though. The film's pace never lets up and it does manage to hold your attention. Though, really, when what's happening on screen is mostly lifeless, does that really matter?
    I also had a problem with the film's ending. When all's said and done, Weston has the file with the incriminating names, and goes in for a meeting with CIA director Harlan Whitford (Sam Shepard). In the meeting, Whitford threatens Weston, telling him that if the file were to ever leak, Weston would have a lot of enemies. Weston still goes ahead and leaks the file anyway. And then... nothing. No enemies. He goes to his girlfriend and the film ends. There's no hint of a sequel, so it seems like Weston just gets off and the threats were all empty. Maybe I missed something, but still, it's a letdown.

Ryan Reynolds: Action Hero

   Safe House is by far not a bad movie. It's just a pretty lackluster movie. The plot is predictable and makes little sense. The action scenes are choppy and generic. As good as Washington and Reynolds are, the film is so been-there-seen-that that while it is mildly entertaining, it's defenately not memorable. Safe House plays it too safe. Safe House gets 3 and a half stars out of 6.

No comments:

Post a Comment