Safe Movie Making
Young Mei (Catherine Chan) has an amazing ability to remember everything; it is how she came to be working for the Triads and Han Jiao (James Wong) as he has the young girl remember a long number which is the combination to a safe. It is also how she ended up in America and in Chinatown where she ended up firstly being kidnapped by the Russian mafia but having escaped then ended up being chased through a subway by them. But that is how she comes to meet Luke Wright (Jason Statham) a former cop turned street fighter who fell foul of the same Russian mafia and after his family was killed has taken to living rough, just marking time. When he discovers Mei he decides he might as well try and help her but with the Russian mafia, dirty cops and all manner of other things to contend with it is not going to be easy.
I hope the synopsis to "Safe" makes sense and that you can see it is not that complicated as you won't think that is the case when you start watching. Writer and director Boaz Yakin chooses to start the movie with a disjointed narrative, starting us at various points in both Mei and Luke's stories jumping back in time by a month and a year to establish as to how they both end up on the same subway platform. In fairness it is a trick which forces you to pay attention, not always something you want to do during a Jason Statham, but once all the time flitting has been dealt with it becomes simply familiar with a kid in trouble, a damaged man full of guilt and well lots of action.
So once "Safe" hits its stride with the set up in place it then proceeds with what is little more than a series of action scenes, all of which elaborate on the story a bit further as when for example Luke gets picked up by some old cop buddies we discover that not only are they dirty they also have a grudge against him. But it does mean that "Safe" for all the broken narrative ends up simple and very typical with characters and actions scenes feeling inspired by those you might have seen in other movies such as with the character of Luke, the disillusioned man wracked with guilt over the death of his wife just waiting to die, it is a cliche character but one which is even more disillusioned than the norm as Luke lives rough on the streets.
So what we get is Jason Statham and a series of action scenes which is what you want when you watch one of his movies and what you get in "Safe" is okay. The action scenes are not anything special but for a Friday night evening in with the lads there is enough to be entertaining. It is the same with the acting as it is nothing special but with James Hong, Anson Mount and Chris Sarandon in supporting roles there are enough familiar faces to make it entertaining.
What this all boils down to is that "Safe" is most importantly enjoyable if you enjoy Jason Statham action movies. But at the same time for all the messing about in the narrative it is pretty straight forwards and built around familiar characters and situations which means it relies on the action to entertain.