In Yakin’s SAFE, Mei has the code.
Jason Statham is Luke Wright; a former special forces cop who became fed up with working for a corrupt mayor and police department. He decides to leave his job and become a cage fighter, where he is paid to use his former training to knock a few unfortunate heads around–until he finds out he accidentally won a cage match he should have lost and now the Russian Mafia wants to take their losses out on his head. In good old henchmen style, Wright’s wife is killed, and he retreats to live as a homeless man. Eventually he finds himself in the mix of a feud between the same Russians who killed his wife, and the Chinese Triads who are both after an orphaned math prodigy, Mei (Catherine Chan), chaperoned by Quan Chang (Reggie Lee), who delivers an impressive performance as a Triad enforcer.
This isn’t the first time an ex-cop must step up and risk his life to save some kid who is in an inconvenient set of circumstances through no fault of his or her own, which does seem like a pretty awesome profile for a hero-type, only if the film can focus on just those specifics. When you try to confine an actionable hero as a solemn mourning widower and then almost immediately infuse him in a world of scrupulous cops and diabolical gang violence–what you get is an inconsistent chaos that is difficult to follow.
He is the key.
It was confusing trying to figure out just how the film wanted to portray Statham–as a grieving widow bumming from one homeless shelter to the next, or as a relentless and brutal bodyguard, protecting a business savvy 12-year old from the Triads and the Russian Mafia. Chan, as a mathematical savant, did nothing more than serve as the metaphorical rag doll, being bounced between two gangs of ruthless killers.
The film wasn’t all bad. If you are a Statham fan, you will still be able to enjoy the all too frequent beat downs he tactically issues out. The film really looks good–but not much else in the way of Statham going beyond the silent, beat em’ down force to be reckoned with. That’s what he’s good at. I really had hoped that this would be an opportunity for Statham to portray a more dynamic and “verbal” hero this time around.
There is always next time.
The DVD features include writer/director audio commentary with Boaz Yakin, including three featurettes: “Cracking Safe, “Criminal Battleground,” and “The Art of the Gunfight.” The Safe (2012) DVD also comes with access to a digital download copy of the film. The new feature ULTRAVIOLET allows instant access to the cloud. When there download a copy of the film to your computer or portable devices.
Source Lionsgate, SAFE