Denzel Plays It Safe In 2-Star "Safe House"

Denzel Plays It Safe In 2-Star "Safe House"


Genre: Action

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.

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