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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Who Rescued Who? A Brief Review of "Safe"



This movie reminds me of Mercury Rising--a decade-old suspense thriller staring another bald-headed action star. In it, the good guy has to protect an autistic boy who is a savant with patterns, puzzles and codes. The boy inadvertently figures out an encrypted message and the chase is on. I remember it being a good flick, with a really intense scene which takes place in a crowded elevator.

Replace the autistic boy with a girl genius. Replace Bruce Willis with Jason Statham. Add a 3-way power struggle between the Russian mob, the Chinese mob and a corrupt police force. Season with some extra thumping time for Statham, and there's Safe in a nutshell.

Mei has a photographic memory, and is better than a computer when it comes to crunching numbers, which is why the Chinese mob kidnaps her. Seems they need to figure out a safe combination in the Big Apple. As if the mob's manipulation of her and threats against her weren't enough to put you in her corner, she's also savvy, tough and streetwise--in addition to being an adorable little girl.

Statham was a tough, clean cop--ostracized because he wouldn't play ball with his crooked co-workers. He gets it from all sides. After his wife is murdered, he has little to live for and is contemplating suicide when fate brings Mei (trying to escape the bad guys) across his path.

A snap decision is made and he is now her protector. What ensues is a white-knuckle thrill ride that left me feeling good about the time invested to watch it.

By comparing it to Mercury Rising  I didn't intend to imply Safe was formulaic. I'm sure the limp-wristed fa-hiiiiiiilmmmm critics have deemed it to be. But it wasn't such a worn-out formula that it annoyed me. To the contrary: I would like to watch it again, with some popcorn.

'Til next time, 2-Fisted Blogees!

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