Cool hand Luke
Director: Boaz Yakin ( Remember the Titans) Stars: Jason Statham, Catherine Chan, Chris Sarandon, James Hong, Sandor Tecsy Another mopin’ and shut Jase
HE’S bald. He’s British. He can barely act. And he’s the billion- dollar- grossing king of B- movie bad- arsery.
As long as action fans are willing to pay to see Jason Statham do his thump- tastic thing, he’ll keep the stony scowls and serious beltings coming.
Jase’s latest thespian masterclass is not about to deviate from the formula that has helped him take so little such a long way.
A kookily- plotted thriller that never comes close to boring anyone in its vicinity, Safe features Statham playing Luke Wright, an ex- cop who left the force because of corrupt employers.
He then became a cage fighter but also left that game behind, because of – you guessed it – corrupt employers.
Just to top it all off, Luke is now on the wrong side of the Russian mob in a big, big way.
The gangsters have already killed his wife and will happily do the same to all remaining family and friends should Luke get in touch. To drive home their point, the Russkis have Luke under round- theclock surveillance.
( Surely it would be more efficient if the Russians just killed Luke and be done with it? I know they are movie villains, but come on now. Time is money. Even in the Moscow mafia.)
With its no- way- out scenario bedded down as miserably as possible, Safe then moves to allowing its hero to spot some light at the end of the tunnel.
Luke forms a protective bond with a little Chinese girl named Mei ( Catherine Chan), a maths whiz with a photographic memory who is carrying around a valuable combination of numbers in her 10- year- old head.
If the Russians can persuade Mei to recite the digits, they’ll have access to a fortress- like vault that holds hundreds of millions of dirty Chinese Triad bucks.
With baddies chasing them left, right and centre, Luke and Mei must resort to any and all means possible to stay free.
Director Boaz Yakin does a good job making this mediocre material achieve its maximum impact, contrasting the fragility of Mei with the frightening capacity for violence of Luke at key flashpoints in the story.
There’s some late- breaking business involving a heist that feels like a bit of an afterthought, but otherwise it’s a fair effort by all involved.
It’s by no means the worst feel- bad revenge flick you’ll ever see, and by no means the last Statham will ever make.