Premise: After renegade ex-CIA agent Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) turns himself in and is attacked at a safe house, a young CIA agent (Ryan Reynolds) has to transport Frost to a safer location. The head games that Frost plays with him are almost as dangerous as the mercenaries who out to kill him.
Behind-the-Scenes: Hyped as the movie where Denzel returns to the same villainous territory that earned him an Oscar for Training Day. Turns out he's more of a shady guy with some questionable tactics than all-out bad guy here.
The Good: Denzel is worth watching in almost anything. This character is right in his wheelhouse and he commits fully to the role, keeping Reynolds (also good, in a joke-free performance for a change) and the audience on their toes. Well-paced, with a decent amount of action. Kanye and Jay-Z's "No Church in the Wild" plays over the end credits.
The Bad: Not as good as the preview. The script is strictly by-the-numbers. There is a total lack of surprise to any of the plot twists. If you've seen one CIA flick with a rogue agent and a mole (think Salt, Bourne Identity, etc.), then you've seen Safe House. Director Daniel Espinosa directs in a faux-gritty style that apes the shaky handheld camera work of the Paul Greengrass Bourne films, but without any of the skill or precision.
Should You See It?: Skip it. Safe House isn't a bad movie per se, just a largely irrelevant one. And one that you've seen countless number of times before.
Rating: ** out of 5 stars.