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REVIEW: 'Safe House'

REVIEW: 'Safe House'

REVIEW: 'Safe House', Flicks.co.nz

2 stars


Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds star in this action thriller about a young CIA agent forced to go on the run with the fugitive he’s supposed to be guarding. Now playing nationwide, click for movie times and trailer.
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Without South Africa the cinematic world would have missed out on District 9, Clint Eastwood¹s Rugby World Cup movie, Charlize Theron and the bad guys from Lethal Weapon II. The country¹s now the setting for espionage actioner Safe House, but adds little to this paint-by-numbers exercise other than providing a location for a familiar blend of double-crossing and shaky-cam violence.

Paying a clear debt to both the Bourne films and Tony Scott¹s filmography, Safe House never makes a clear choice about which way it wants to go and ends up being an unfulfilling blend of gritty realism and over-the-top kinetic editing. It constantly tries to maintain a pace that never gives its competent cast a chance to breathe and it never makes the most of a supporting cast that includes Vera Farmiga and Brendan Gleeson. Their interchangeable intelligence roles compete with the film¹s villains for the least important characters award, pushed off the screen by Washington and Reynolds who, to their credit, share some good moments together.

It¹s also to the film's credit that they're not pushed into the typical odd couple role that two guys on the run from assassins would normally require, not rookie/experienced or goodie/baddie but something a little more complex. If only Safe House had more of this instead of thinking its convoluted plot and overfamiliarity was something new and exciting.

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