Movie Review: Safe House

Posted: February 12, 2012 in movie reviews, movies
Tags: , , , , , ,

Despite a top notch performance from Ryan Reynolds, everything about this movie felt predictable. From the story to Denzel Washington’s acting, I knew how this was going to play out. Even with that ridiculous ending.

Safe House

Starring: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Vera Farmiga, Robert Patrick, Sam Shepard, Brendan Gleeson

Premise: A young, eager-yet-inexperienced CIA agent, Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) finds himself protecting a dangerous, renegade ex-CIA agent Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington), when he finds the safe house he watches invaded by people wanting to kill Tobin and anyone in their way. Weston finds himself on the run with the good guys and bad guys after him.

My Review: It’s a story we’ve all heard and seen before. Reminiscent of 16 Blocks, Weston finds himself protecting an alleged “bad guy” who’s been off the grid for 10 years. But somewhere throughout the movie what Weston knows as good and bad suddenly becomes gray and he doesn’t know who he can trust. The good guys end up thinking he’s “turned” and everyone else up after him. The story takes you exactly where you think it’s going to take you. Cover up. And I knew exactly how it was going to end, turn for turn, twist for twist.

It’s not to say that this movie wasn’t entertaining. The action was unrelenting and there was plot at every corner. It’s definitely not a movie I’d recommend getting up and going pee during as you’re bound to miss something important, but I found myself wanting more. I felt like there was only one way for this movie to end as if we were being pushed down a certain path instead of taking us on a journey.

The acting in the movie was top notch, but there were times even that felt forced. Particularly with Denzel Washington’s character. Denzel Washington is a badass. I won’t deny it. But it seems like he plays the same character over and over and over again. Tobin Frost was just another variation of Frank Lucas from America Gangster, or a  more threatening version of his characters in Déjà Vu, Unstoppable, Remember The Titans…I could go on, and on and on. His characters are always cocky, arrogant, intimidating, but my guess is if I were Denzel Washington, I’d probably be the same way. Unfortunately, because of this, you know how Denzel is going to play the character. And he plays it just like that (or this).

However, I believe wholeheartedly, that this movie belonged to Ryan Reynolds. I believed him in those moments he was scared, I believed him in those moments he was angry, and I also believed him in those moments he was vulnerable. I don’t think he’s truly action-hero-material ready yet (but he’s pretty damn close and held his own), but I believe he’s proved he can be much more than a pretty – oh, so pretty – face.  And those car chase sequences were crazy!

Overall, I’m kinda on the fence about this movie. I wanted to like it much more than I did, and I felt like it needed to be a little more creative. I feel like the movie got caught up in all the action it forgot about storytelling and became a bit ridiculous in the end. However, I’m very proud of Ryan Reynolds performance, so maybe see it just for that.


Rating: 2 ¾ stars (because 2 ½ just didn’t feel right)



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