A Safe bet

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY -

ASON Statham’s lat­est film is ex­actly what au­di­ences have come to ex­pect from the bashem-up Bri­tish ac­tor: ac­tion, with plenty of punch.

There’s enough glass-smash­ing, bone-break­ing, ball-crush­ing, lead-fir­ing busi­ness go­ing on in Safe to sat­isfy any al­pha male.

From the pro­ducer of Pulp Fic­tion, Kill Bill and Reser­voir Dogs – Lawrence Ben­der – Safe is the story of ex-new York cop turned cage fighter Luke Wright (Statham) and his re­la­tion­ship with 10-year-old Chi­nese maths prodigy Mei (Cather­ine Chan).

Mei, gifted with freak­ish nu­mer­i­cal know-how, is kid­napped by tri­ads to be­come their ‘‘counter’’.

‘‘Com­put­ers are so an­noy­ing. They leave trails that are easy to fol­low,’’ says the tri­ads’ boss, who in­stead comes to rely on Mei’s mem­ory to keep track of his busi­ness in­ter­ests.

Of course, the Rus­sian mafia also want to get their hands on Mei. Throw in some bent mem­bers of the New York Po­lice Depart­ment and crooked­ness from City Hall and one-man Wright is up against a multi-pronged en­emy.

Be­fore long Statham’s char­ac­ter has fired a few rounds at each of them, or at least taken a swing.

The ac­tion is en­gag­ing enough so that the se­ries of fleet­ing sub­ti­tles don’t be­come an­noy­ing for their brevity. No mat­ter – it’s not like the plot is re­ally what’s im­por­tant here.

Wright meets Mei in the New York sub­way, where he soon takes care of her Rus­sian preda­tors, leav­ing at least one of them with the in­abil­ity to fa­ther chil­dren af­ter splay­ing his legs around a train rail­ing.

There’s the oblig­a­tory car chase through New York’s city streets, dur­ing which Wright – be­hind the wheel of an in­fe­rior po­lice-is­sue sedan – man­ages to out­smart his as­sailants. And shootouts at two bustling restau­rants leave an un­known but sig­nif­i­cant death count as care­free par­tic­i­pants en­gage in gun bat­tle.

Safe is not all death, destruc­tion and eye­wa­ter­ing pain. Statham de­liv­ers a few dry one­lin­ers which mo­men­tar­ily lighten the mood.

‘‘You’ve got some balls Luke,’’ his char­ac­ter is told af­ter back­ing the bad guys into a corner. ‘‘I’m sur­prised I can even walk,’’ he replies. Writer and di­rec­tor Boaz Yakin ro­man­ti­cises the film as ‘‘about a guy who has lost ev­ery­thing in his life and through this chance en­counter, he finds a rea­son to live again’’. What­ever!

Watch Safe for its strengths: quick-paced ac­tion and vi­o­lence de­liv­ered by self-styled stunt man Statham at his best.

opens to­day.

Cather­ine Chan and Ja­son Statham in

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