Luke Wright (Jason Statham) was living a normal life as a second-rate mixed martial arts cage fighter until screwing up a rigged fight. The Russian Mafia decides to make an example of him to prevent this from happening again and murders his family. With nothing to live for anymore, Wright wanders the streets of New York full of guilt and anger until he encounters Mei (Catherine Chan), a frightened 12-year-old Chinese girl. An orphaned math prodigy, Mei had been forced to work for the Triads as a counter and holds the key to a numerical code that could destroy the Triads, the mob and corrupt cops within the NYPD. After discovering that the same gangsters who killed his family are pursuing her, Wright takes matters into his own hands to protect the innocent girl and seek revenge.
Luke Wright (Jason Statham) is a fighter who was supposed to lose a rigged fight and instead put his opponent in the hospital with one punch. Doing so, he made an enemy of the Russian Mafia. The Russians murder his wife and tell him that he is to spend the rest of his days alone, and they will be watching. Luke ends up in a homeless shelter and has gone off the grid completely. He gives a pair of shoes to a man in the shelter who really needs them and in the morning, discovers the man dead – with his throat slit.
In the subway he sees a frightened young Chinese girl being pursued by the mafia, and he jumps on a moving subway car and comes to her aid. The girl, Mei (Catherine Chan) is a human computer and is being used by the Chinese mafia to remember account numbers and balances. Her most recent role was to remember a long series of numbers. The Chinese gave her the first half and she was abducted before getting the second half of the numbers. Those numbers are actually a code of sorts since it’s actually the combination for a safe and the Chinese Triads, the Russian Mafia, and crooked members of the NYPD all want the little girl. As Luke gets further involved in trying to save young Mei, he realizes that the corruption involved goes all the way to the Mayor (Chris Sarandon) and beyond.
I had some trepidation about this movie because I am still mad at Jason Statham for the Crank series. I purchased Crank brand new, based on the fact that I thought Jason Statham was successful enough that he would only make good movies. It was a mistake that he made the movie, and a bigger mistake that I bought it and I’m still not ready to forgive him for it yet. When I see a Jason Statham movie that I’ve never heard of , I have a hard time deciding whether or not to watch it as it could be as good as The Transporter…or it could be as bad as Crank 1& 2. I had decided that if I was disappointed with Safe, I would have to break up with him (aka stop watching his movies), but fortunately this ended up being a good movie.
Director Boaz Yakin brings the type of action movie I haven’t seen in a long time. It’s got car chases and extreme gun fire and I like the fact that it goes a step beyond the usual action flick. Unlike the typical action flick, Luke Wright does not arrive just in time to save his wife. In other movies, if the wife dies, it usually becomes a movie about revenge. Safe is about Luke’s Wright finding something to live for and someone to care about – but it won’t disappoint action fans. I like the fact that the bad guys are really bad guys. When they flash their guns and warn everyone to leave a crowded room they add “or you’ll die like this” and they shoot someone in the back to make their point. It’s clear that when all sides say get the little girl or kill her, they are all prepared to actually kill the young girl. It’s a very ruthless film and I liked that.
Safe is presented on Blu-ray in 1080p high definition, with a wide-screen 2.35:1 ratio. This was a surprisingly impressive presentation with a sharp and detailed picture. With much of the film taking place in New York City, the film has an intentionally grainy feel. It’s not perfect, but much better than I expected for this type of film.
Safe’s 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix will have the listener dodging bullets in their living room. Subway trains, car crashes and other sound effects make excellent use of the side channels. Shoot-outs are by far the most intense effects. In a few shots I actually turned around to figure out why I was hearing gun fire behind me because of events happening on the screen. The directionality of the sound effects were very impressive and accurate to the action.
While the audio and video were a pleasant surprise, the special features were less in number and detail than I expected. Specifically I wanted to see more making of featurettes featuring Jason Statham.
The Blu-ray contains the following features:
- Writer/Director Commentary – Boaz Yakin discusses making the film and his history in the industry. He discusses the film without as much technical detail as I would have expected but that might make this commentary enjoyable for a wider range of viewers/listeners.
- Cracking Safe – Writer/Director Boaz Yakin talks about making the film. This featurette contains interviews with Jason Statham and other primary participants in the film.
- Criminal Battleground – An 8 minute featurette focusing on New York City.
- The Art of the Gunfight – A 10 minute look at the gun fights and the choreography involved in the action.
Safe surprised me, turning out to be a decent action flick. Overall the twists aren’t that surprising and you may guess where the film is headed, but I don’t think it lessens the enjoyment. I can see how many critics would pick this one apart, but I would argue their thinking too hard. With a film like Safe, you pop some popcorn, watch the bullets fly and give your brain a rest for the evening. So what if it’s like the other good Jason Statham movies. This is exactly the type of film he does well, and I don’t mind seeing slightly recycled versions of Jason Statham’s bad guy whose really a good guy.
Order your copy today!