Jason Statham’s latest role in Safe as Luke Wright, a cage fighter and former New York cop, couldn’t get much more macho. From the producer of Quentin Tarantino’s films, Lawrence Bender, this action movie is as fast-paced and bullet-ridden as you would expect.
Taking on the Triads, the Russian Mafia, corrupt police and shady politicians all in one night, Statham proves a match for every bad guy in New York. Written and directed by Boaz Yakin (Remember the Titans), the plot of Safeis borderline ridiculous, but that doesn’t stop it from being an entertaining ride to be swept along with.
At the centre of all the criminal activity is a 12-year-old girl, a mathematical child-genius, who is abducted and used by the Triads as a human computer that can remember a number as soon as she lays eyes on it. In order to avoid paper trails, Mei (Catherine Chan) is given a string of important digits to memorise, but on the way to the recipient of this mysterious code the Russian Mafia intervene with guns blazing. Managing to escape, pursued by both gangs, Mei is lucky enough to find herself taken under the protection of Luke Wright.
Coincidentally, Luke has some unfinished business with these same Russians. They’ve been making his life hell in the worst possible way, ever since he failed to go down in a rigged cage fight with a lot of mafia money on it. Forced to live rough by the gang, a down-trodden Luke is finally provoked into retaliating in spectacular style in order to save Mei and put a stop to the criminals’ plans.
It’s Luke’s first encounter with Mei on the subway which brings the Jason Statham that fans are familiar with, from action movies such as The Transporter, raging into combat. The fight choreography is furious and swift, as he dispatches gangsters in record time, followed by plenty of flying bullets and an intense car chase.
Although he maintains a moody silence and tough-guy frown throughout most of the film, the best of Statham’s lines are worth waiting for. Given its outlandish plot, one of the redeeming factors about Safe is how quotable it is.
In between killing the bad guys and beating up a couple enough to store them in his car boot for later, Statham delivers some great one-liners. While the dialogue often resorts to clichés, especially between Luke and Mei, these humorous and memorable lines go part way to making up for it. “I’ve been in restaurants all night, all I got served was lead,” is one such classic line that adds great entertainment value to the whole over-the-top escapade.
Abiding by a familiar formula, the plot holds no real surprises and gets a bit lost amongst the endless action. It hardly seems to matter, as fans should enjoy the explosive special effects and hard-hitting heroics of action star Jason Statham enough to not ask too many questions at the end.
Safe is released in cinemas on 4th May 2012.
Watch the trailer here