PG Cooper: Safe House Review

Posted: February 18, 2012 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

Release date: February 10th, 2012

Running time: 117 minutes

Written by: David Guggenheim

Directed by: Daniel Espinosa

Starring: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Brendan Gleeson, and Vera Farmiga

Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) works as a housekeeper for a CIA safe house. His been working the monotonous job for over a year and yearns to do something more. Things are shaken up when ex-agent Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) is taken in for interrogation. The house is then attacked by an unknown group. Matt has to make an important decision, and decides to take Frost out of the safe house and take him in. Things go wrong of course, and we get a story of action, violence, and blurred lines.

The film’s biggest weakness is easily the script. The story is very predictable. Within ten minutes, I knew exactly how the film would play out, plot point for plot point. I also feel like the characters needed more development. Weston and Frost never really bond the way the film thinks they do. I also hate the MacGuffin used in the story. Frost is trying to deliver a chip with important data on it. So many films have used the file/chip/disc with important data on it that it’s just tiring. It’s also an outdated story device since in this day and age. It’s so easy spread information that it’s unlikely you’ll have a single chip full of data. Also, I won’t spoil the film, but I will say what’s done at the end with the chip could have been done at any point in time during the film.

The cast here is a mixed bag. On one hand, the film had strong leads. Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds have good chemistry together and make up for the script’s lack of development. You really feel Ryan Reynolds frustration with both the monotony of his job and in him having to deal with Tobin Frost. Of course Denzel Washington is a total badass in this film. It’s not exactly a stretch for Denzel, but he’s good at it all the same. I have some issues with the supporting cast though. Vera Farmiga is a talented actress, but she isn’t given anything to do, and while I like Brendan Gleeson, he seems miscast and his accent was noticeable.

The other thing I really dug about the film was the action. The action scenes here are pretty awesome. I can’t say they’re revolutionary, but they’re gritty and dark, and there’s a lot of them. I never got sick of the action either, I was constantly entertained. Part of it is because I’m a huge fan of action films like this. Ones where the main character is an adult and badass. Where the action is gritty and violent. Where you see characters kill, and be killed. We live in an era where a lot of the action films we get are fantastical adventures with super powers, costumes, giant robots, stuff like that. I’m not against all movies like that, but I also like action films which are a bit grittier.

Safe House has a lot of problems sure, but I like it all the same. I suppose it’s something of a guilty pleasure. It’s not well-written, deep, or insightful, but I enjoyed it all the same. Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds both do solid work, and the action is exciting and brutal. Yeah, it’s flawed, but I like it, and if you’re into action films, check it out.

Rating: B-

  1. Nic says:

    Yeah, the script was definitely the weakest part of the film, but they pulled the rest off well enough.

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