After the lacklustre box-office performance of The Mechanic, many predicted the end of Jason Statham's days as cinema's top action hero. Safe proves them wrong.
Amazing camera work and editing create a symphony of non-stop violence. Car chases, brutal fights and epic gun fights are optimised for visceral impact. Statham kills or maims just about everyone he meets except for the Chinese girl on the poster.
The action veteran puts real effort into creating his character, a wounded ex-cop/cage-fighter reeling from tragedy. He takes his acting seriously and even cries at one point.
Normally an action movie sets up the hero to wallop just one villain and their set of henchmen. What sets Safe apart is that it dares to dream big, with Chinese gangsters, Russian mobsters and corrupt cops thrown into the mix.
Watching our hero ratchet up the body count, I was witnessing a new benchmark. This is the rare direct-to-video action movie that delivers what fans crave for. When they find Safe after scrolling through endless titles on Netflix late at night, satisfaction is guaranteed.
It has all the elements: a dumb but engaging premise, an out-for-revenge 'best at what he does' underdog with a moral code, a simple story at breakneck speed and action that gets more intense and ambitious as the movie progresses. And of course, enough WTF moments of cartoon violence that make you recoil, smile, groan... or all three at once.
Safe brings back memories of the Arnie/Sly golden era. It takes you back to simpler times, when you'd see a cool action movie and spend the next day at school talking about it with friends.