Haynes Is Not Part Of It


26 April 2012| No Comments on Safe     by Sean Chavel


Less action than your usual Jason Statham vehicle, and what’s there is kind of routine. Safe is the story of a recluse who becomes the bodyguard of a pre-teen Chinese girl who is a savant. The girl Mei (Catherine Chan) has long been in the clutches of gangsters who use her memory and math skills. When Mei runs off, with a secret code in memory, the mob and crooked cops run after her. Some want her dead, most need her alive and captured. By making Statham into a human protector, the studio attempts to repeat the recipe of the action star’s hits “The Transporter” and “Crank,” but gets less satisfying results.

Statham, as a boxer who refused to take a fall for mob gamblers (this is right out of Bruce Willis’ storyline in “Pulp Fiction”), becomes a street drifter redeemed by the girl – he’s fulfilled now with purpose. Statham is the same kind of lethal killing machine from “The Transporter,” a little more ordinary by being a Joe Boxer-type, but his stunts aren’t as cool. The action is poorly photographed with jerky-cam, so there’s no bloodlust euphoria here.

Worse than the photography is the editing. It has no kinetic pull-through. No logical chain of action. Just jagged cuts. High-concept action movies are made or broken with technique, and “Safe” doesn’t have it. Boaz Yakin is a writer/director with experience (“Fresh,” “Remember the Titans”) but now it seems he is just condescending his own talents to give us the kind of wham-bam aesthetics he thinks the studio might want in a Statham vehicle.

Technique aside, it never made any sense why the villains couldn’t just write down the code and put it in a hideaway safe, instead of just entrusting the girl with it. (They burn the code after they give it to her to remember.) Sure the kid is instilled with autistic savant gifts, but it is incredible what a poor memory the rest of the characters have.

Not to be confused with the 1995 masterpiece drama “Safe” by director Todd Haynes.

95 Minutes. Rated R.


Film Cousins: “Commando” (1985); “Mercury Rising” (1998); “The Transporter” (2002); “From Paris with Love” (2010).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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