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

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Movies - LEIGH PAATSCH Now show­ing Vil­lage Cine­mas

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.

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