Only 16 weeks into the 2012 theatrical release schedule and my Worst of 2012 list is beginning to take shape. This Means War, the action comedy starring Tom Hardy and Chris Pine will be there. Likely joining it will be Julia Roberts’ misadventures in the dreadful Mirror, Mirror. Both entries now have company via Jason Statham’s new action flick, Safe.
Safe puts actor Jason Statham in familiar territory. He is protecting a young person while driving recklessly, shooting, punching and jumping his way through fast paced and carefully choreographed sequences intended on keeping the interest of 13-year-old boys. Statham has protected young helpless persons before thanks to his Transporter franchise, but here, he scrapes the bottom of the barrel for the worst script and character he has ever played on the big screen.
In Safe, Statham plays Luke Wright, a former cop who has been living on the streets since the Russian mob killed his wife after he failed to win a promotional UFC-style fight. Wright’s life is reaching its bottom point when he notices a young Asian girl being followed in a New York City subway station.
We learned earlier that the young Asian named Mei (Catherine Chan) is a super-whiz with numbers that has been kidnapped by the Chinese mob and brought to America intent on having her memorize a sequence of numbers that lead to unknown treasures.
When Luke Wright involves himself in her safety, he becomes absorbed in a cliché driven plot involving corrupt cops, corrupt politicians, the Chinese mob and the Russian mob. All have but one purpose, to gain ownership of the young girl by any means possible and to use the numbers she has memorized to open two safes containing both money and information valuable beyond comprehension.
While all four of the politicians, police and two mobs collapse upon Wright and Wei’s whereabouts, our packed theatre of nine paying patrons watched as they shouted, shot and ran amok through the city in a blended mess that comes courtesy of writer/director Boaz Yakin (Remember the Titans).
There is so much wrong with Safe that it is hard to get ones head around the convoluted disaster in an attempt to explain in words how to warn other interested parties. Statham is usually consistent, but even he cannot save such an atrocity as this. His action sequences are many, but they are boring and uninspired and l felt the need to shut my eyes and grab a quick nap rather than watch him continue to take on 5-6 heavily armed men at one time and get away unscathed.
Assisting Statham in this bad smelling piece of fromage is the supporting cast. None of the many characters thrust on screen are well developed and the only one that does have any relevance, Mei, is portrayed by a young girl who can’t seem to act her way out of a wet fortune cookie. Usually, we are relaxed when it comes to criticizing youth and their attempts in their big screen debuts. But Catherine Chan is terrible as a central character and her bad acting is the largest fly feasting on this pile of shit.
To be fair – okay, to be somewhat fair – some of the dialogue expected of Chan was beyond eye-rolling. She has to take direction in how to express such painful lines as “You’re a crazy man, yet not that stupid” while Statham tries to catch a breath between bone breaking.
Snores could be heard in our almost vacant theatre and they were loud enough to drown out my own. There isn’t many films that I can truly advise to stay away from, but it’s safe to say that Safe is one of them.