Safe House Review

By Darrin Jones / February 10

Ingredients: If you liked the action of Bourne Identity, the Denzel Washington performance of Training Day, and the plot of the Recruit, you will like this movie.

Safe House is the new “spy game” genre movie starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds--who, I am happy to say, is not wearing a dreadful CGI costume and flying around through space. Traditional Ryan Reynolds fans might be a bit disappointed with his performance in Safe House but non-fans may find it a refreshing change. In the movie, Matt Weston (as played by Ryan Reynolds) is a CIA agent in charge of watching over a small, out-of-the-way government safe house. During one of his many uninteresting nights alone, Weston is suddenly surprised when the CIA brings in rogue agent Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington.) The safe house is breached by a group of gunmen and Weston and Frost have to escape their pursuers. Now before you think this is the making for another whacky 48 Hours story, it isn’t. Frost is fighting Weston, literally with his fist, ever step of the way and it’s clear Weston is way in over his head. The dynamic between the two is extremely tense and its never quite clear who is going to get the upper-hand next. All the while, a corrupt government plot looms dangerously overhead.

Safe House was a great example of what Ryan Reynolds can do when he’s not forced to be comic relief. Get it, “comic” relief. ZING! Second Green Lantern reference! Reynolds expertly portrays Weston as being a determined up-and-coming agent while still being a scared man in an unstable situation. But the best moments he has is when he is bouncing his acting off of Denzel Washington. Denzel is a master at portraying intense characters that are experts at manipulating the situation and if you’ve seen Book of Eli, you know how effective he can be in up-close fighting scenes. Reynolds also turns up his physical stunts to the max. His fights are brutal, his car chases are heart-pounding, and his firefights are serious. Something that really makes this movie rise above its more generic peers is that throughout the film Weston learns just what being a CIA agent really means. While fighting to keep Frost and himself alive, he is also fighting to keep track of what’s right and wrong and stay true to what he believes.

Unfortunately, Safe House is not without its flaws. It falls into the cliched trap of having someone at the government agency be a traitor of some sort. And when the surprise twist of who is really behind everything is revealed the lack of surprise could put you to sleep. I’m serious here, when the shocking revelation happened in the the theatre I was watching in nearly everyone in the crowd cried out “Duh, I already knew that!” But if you get past the embarrassing predictable twist and the obvious ending, Safe House is a good action movie. It is both complex but accessible, the action is great, and Denzel Washington delivers a superb performance as always. 

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