wogma rating: Watch when on TV/online (?)
Safe is all about prolonged fight sequences – something Jason Statham excels in. For this motive alone, you might consider watching the film. But don’t expect too much of a story or any sort of emotional connect to the film. You’d be better off watching the film on TV when you aren’t expecting anything.Read more
Jason Statham’s name appears on the screen and you immediately know what you can expect from the film. Former star of films like Lock, Stock and Two smoking Barrels, Snatch and the Transporter series, Statham has stayed true to the action genre – never really deviating from his comfort zone. Safe however, is an action overdose. It’s a case of dumbing down of the basic story, too many unnecessary stylistic elements, a large celebration of Statham and nothing more.
In Safe, Statham plays ex-cop Luke Wright who worked for the NYPD and exclusively with the mayor (Chris Sarandon). Fed up with the rising corruption, he decides to quit and get involved in the city’s underground rigged fights culture. You are shown that it gives him a vent for his frustration, over visuals of repeated action, minute after minute.
The conflict arises when the Russian Mafia gets involved and kills his entire family over a dispute. He decides to seek revenge when he witnesses the same men torturing an 11-year old Chinese girl, Mei. The film is as much about their growing relationship, as Statham plays her protector.
However, Safe doesn’t hold for long enough to establish any emotional connection. We are told nothing about Statham’s wife, and so through the film we have no motive to empathize with any conversation. The action, as a result, isn’t soaked in cold-blooded revenge either, and therefore it makes for a stale viewing.
Mei’s character is written well, and fortunately also has a graph. We learn that apart from her helpless situation, she is also a whiz kid who learns faster than she speaks. The pace of the film becomes a problem; mostly because director Boaz Yakin has decided to depend on fast cuts to establish most of the film. You aren’t given enough time to grasp anything – and before you know it, someone is beating up another person.
The first few minutes of Safe seemed interesting. The visual texture of the film was gritty and I was expecting a nail-bitter. Statham takes no time to overpower every other aspect in the film (he also looks uncannily like Bruce Willis, so his bar is pretty high) and you are left, wanting to see other parts of the film.
A back-story of Statham’s relationship with his wife or maybe the terror and hold of the Russian Mafia in the New York crime underbelly could have been a lot more insightful for us to base the film upon. The number of could-haves brings down your viewing experience of Safe. Watch it only if you’re a die-hard fan of Jason Statham.
This review is by guest reviewer Swetha Ramakrishnan. Swetha Ramakrishnan is currently living and working in Mumbai. She's a self-confessed film enthusiast and can most likely be found talking to anyone and everyone about popular cinema and her love for SRK. Swetha Ramakrishnan also blogs at http://swetharamakrishnan.blogspot.com/.
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