A Safe bet
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.
Catherine Chan and Jason Statham in