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.
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.