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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

May 15, 2012

Safe Movie Review - The Best Hard Action Flick We've Seen Since 'Taken'

THE BEST WAY to describe Jason Statham’s newest action flick, “Safe”, is to say that it works, it delivers. We were bored by recent movies like “The Avengers”, “Battleship” and “21 Jump Street” as they have a lot of talky dragging stretches. “Safe” is the most effective hard action pic we’ve seen since Liam Neeson’s “Taken”.

It’s engrossing as it has a lot of heart. You get to sympathize with the two lead characters totally. The direction of the action sequences by Boaz Yakin is solid and slambang while Jason gives an absolutely ass-kicking performance. This is even better than Jason’s previous hit actioners like “Crank”, “The Mechanic” and “Transporter” series.

Jason plays Luke, a former cop who becomes a street fighter after losing his job. When he refuses to cheat and throw a fight, the Russian mafia kills his wife and child. He becomes a bum also harassed by corrupt cops who hate him for being straight. He’s about to throw himself on the path of a subway train when he sees a little Chinese girl being pursued by goons.

He saves the girl and becomes her savior. The 11-year old girl is Mei (Catherine Chan), a math prodigy kidnapped in China and used by the Chinese mafia to keep track of their illegal business dealings in New York City. She’s asked to memorize a series of numbers and it turns out the Russians are also after it so they also kidnap her, along with Luke’s corrupt former NYPD colleagues. The corruption goes all the way up to the mayor (Chris Sarandon) and his assistant-lover (Anson Mount).

The whole film is very fast paced you’ll have to catch your breath. Not much talking but more of gunfights (the sequence in a plush hotel where Luke and Mei hide is very well staged), high-octane car chases and lots of bone-crunching fistfights and hand-to-hand punch ups. The body count is very high and the violence quotient is quite brutal and ruthless, but it’s all ultimately quite cathartic as Jason has no compunction only when it comes to demolishing the bad guys.

Jason is really the most prolific action star today and his movies offer the kind of testosterone and adrenaline offered by the likes of Sly, Arnie, Bronson and Willis before. Action fans will surely enjoy the bloody mayhem in “Safe”. Giving good support is Fil-Am actor Reggie Lee (who was in “Pirates of the Carribean” and “Prison Break”) as a Chinese henchman who become’s Mei’s adoptive dad. But the Chinese girl who plays Mei is bland and lacks expression. Our own child stars here can easily give her a run for her money in the acting department.