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Safe House
Year:
2012
Country:
USA, Japan, South Africa
Genre:
Crime, Thriller, Action, Mystery
IMDB rating:
6.8
Director:
Daniel Espinosa
Vera Farmiga as Catherine Linklater
Stephen Rider as Richards
Jenna Dover as CIA Analyst
Nora Arnezeder as Ana Moreau
Fares Fares as Vargas
Joel Kinnaman as Keller
Rubén Blades as Carlos Villar
Liam Cunningham as Alec Wade
Ryan Reynolds as Matt Weston
Denzel Washington as Tobin Frost
Tracie Thoms as CIA Analyst
Sam Shepard as Harlan Whitford
Brendan Gleeson as David Barlow
Robert Patrick as Daniel Kiefer
Storyline: Matt Weston ( ) is a CIA rookie who is manning a safe house in Cape Town, South Africa, when Tobin Frost ( ) the CIA's most wanted rogue agent is captured and taken to the safe house. During Frost's interrogation, the safe house is overtaken by mercenaries who want Frost. Weston and Frost escape and must stay out of the gunmen's sight until they can get to another safe house.
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Reviews
CIA agent Ryan Reynolds tries to get ex-agent Denzel Washington to a safe location
"Safe House" is at best an average modern-day action movie, a 6. The story is all right. It has a reasonable plot from which an excellent screenplay and movie might have been built, and portions of that potential do appear at times that lend the movie some appeal, and they are when Denzel Washington appears and counsels the younger CIA agent played by Ryan Reynolds. Washington has a well-written part, and he surely can put a role like this across with great charm that makes you enjoy being in his company.

As I say, the plot's all right. Washington's an ex-CIA agent who used to be a star agent but abandoned the agency because of its corruption and rogue elements. He turned to trading information. He's doing a trade of a capsulized document that reveals the names and activities of illegal activities of intelligence agencies across the world. But one of these elements at the CIA knows this and has sent a team of shadowy foreign pursuers after him in South Africa. Washington is pursued into a CIA safe house where there is carnage, but Ryan Reynolds helps the manacled Washington escape and tries to find a new safe location for him. But back at Langley, among the three main guiding officials (Sam Shepherd, Vera Farmiga and Brendan Gleeson) is someone untrustworthy. When Washington has a chance later on to look at the micro-data, he doesn't catch who it is and tell Reynolds, a bit of a plot hole.

Most all of the story is depicted in a fantastical and unrealistic way. The attacks, escapes, pursuits are beyond any semblance of belief. Reality only creeps in during the quieter moments of the story. This would not be so bad if these chases and shootouts were shown in an understandable way that generated real tension and suspense or showed us precisely how the principals and their attackers went about their respective roles. This is not done. The film has one gap after another. We surely do not see clearly how critical matters are accomplished. The movie then becomes nothing more than a magic show, where the key elements are hidden, covered over by a jumble of rapid editing and movement. Even what should be an exciting car chase degenerates into a boring series of disconnected scrapes and jumps. The way that the action is done herein is exactly how it should not be done in my estimation. To me, it's a crashing bore and mindless. It's also a clone of a good many other such action sequences in other movies. Character development, even through action, is a weak point too. The trio at the CIA are stick figures, going through clichéd motions we've seen before.

Ryan Reynolds projects blandness. The opening scenes with him and his girl friend are directed clumsily. We are never given much to make him out as a solid and sympathetic character, and he, as an actor, doesn't fill in this gap by his personal capacity to project a person. Looking dazed and confused, looking ungroomed, and being inarticulate do not inspire confidence. Coming across like a schoolboy is not a charm recipe. He does take action, but too often we do not see how he accomplishes it and sometimes he does dumb things. Should he not be more shrewd and cunning in handling his challenge? The script disallows this.

"Safe House" is a run of the mill action movie in which the good parts with Denzel Washington contrast sharply with the rest of the movie, and I have to say that even those good parts are by now in danger of becoming too familiar as carried by Washington. There is not enough challenge in it for him as an actor and a bit too much comfortable revisiting of previous roles.
2015-07-25
Safe Bet on Washington.
Safe House (2012): Dir: Daniel Espinosa / Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Denzel Washington, Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson, Sam Shepard: Interesting idea about trust. Ryan Reynolds plays a safe house agent assigned to watch an ex CIA agent turned criminal, played by Denzel Washington who possesses files that are sought after by people from both sides. After a massive blood bath shootout, Reynolds escapes with Washington and from there the screenplay becomes one big chase and violent encounter after another but we know these two will be on the same side. One problem with this film is its making Washington a hero figure simply because viewers like him period. That is not to say that the film isn't entertaining. Washington and Reynolds are an electrifying pairing with Washington's soft spoken presentation that conceals a deadly consequence for those who oppose him, verses Reynolds's frantic race to maintain composure in the midst of turmoil. The ending works and director Daniel Espinosa allows for several great action sequences but perhaps supporting roles could have been broader. Vera Farmiga and Brendan Gleeson are two effective actors but here their roles seem more like props leading to revelations that many viewers will likely already see coming. Sam Shepard is a veteran actor lost in cardboard material. While the film doesn't always work, it maintains an entertaining pace thanks to its two leads that rise above what the material might have been without them. Perhaps next time the screenwriters will spend more time in the safe house and produce a more convicting film. Score: 6 / 10
2015-05-06
probably was best to see in a theater
Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington need to go to a "Safe House" - if they can find one - in this 2012 film.

Reynolds plays Matt Weston, a CIA rookie in charge of a Cape Town safe house. A rogue agent, Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington), is caught and brought there and after that, this is no safe house. Everyone wants what Frost has, including mercenaries who enter into a shootout. Frost and Weston take off for another safe house. As these things go, it's not long before Weston isn't sure who his friends are, especially when some of Frost's predictions about how the CIA will handle his escape turn out to be true.

I saw this as a rental, and it's probably the type of film that needs to be seen in a theater. There are car chases, shootings, beatings, and gunfights galore - solid action - probably better experienced in a theater.

Washington and Reynolds are both excellent, and create great characters. The rest of the characters aren't well developed - understandably, since Washington and Reynolds have the most to do.

The script is derivative and predictable, but the ending really wasn't. This is an entertaining movie if you like constant action. Unfortunately for me it wasn't as compelling or surprising as one of the Bourne films.
2013-07-07
Criminally Underrated
Judging this movie strictly on the basis of entertainment value would surely give a 10/10. The action is non-stop and certainly intense throughout. The fight choreography is also extremely well done, while they don't adopt the "Bourne" method of just shaking the camera rapidly throughout the scene to give the impression of quicker and more complex fighting moves. The fight scenes with Ryan Reynolds, in particular, are shot in a way that show each individual move, which was incredible to watch.

As for the acting, Denzel needs no description and was absolutely ideal for the role. I knew exactly what kind of stellar performance I was going to see immediately upon his first line with the MI6 agent. Ryan Reynolds was the surprise here, as I had little to no respect for his acting ability prior to this role. His casting as the protagonist actually slightly deterred my interest in seeing the movie initially. I've now been on the Reynolds bandwagon since viewing Safe House due to how well he portrayed this character. His acting specifically after the last fight scene in the desert safe house was quite impressive. The chemistry between Denzel and Ryan carries the film and makes their gradual character development all the more believable. Safe House should be recommended to any viewer hoping for some action packed entertainment.
2016-05-25
Bad big budget barf.
Don't even waste your sea sickness pills on this movie. Even when the actors are sitting in a room, the camera is bouncing all around. I didn't take my seasickness pills, so I only lasted about 30 minutes which is pretty good for me mainly for the cast which was a big waste of talent. As Michael Caine said one time: "I've made a lot of crap, but I've made a lot of money". For the life of me, I can't understand why anyone would think a movie would be better if people sitting in a chair should be shown jumping up,down, and around. When I look at someone sitting in a chair, they aren't jumping about to my mind's eye. The brain is even able to make things look smooth even when I am moving around. The image in my brain is not jumping about. I think the hand held camera is a way for movie companies to save money. No tripod, no steady cam, no set up needed. Just give the camera to a monkey and see what kind of garbage comes out.

But that's just one part of the problem. The car chase scene in the beginning was completely unbelievable. What was Denzel thinking when he tries to strangle Ryan while Ryan is driving the car? How come Ryan only has a pistol while everyone else has an assault rifle?

Recommendation: Do as I did: spent 30 minutes at most on this junk, and then send it back to Netflix.
2012-08-18
Completely Average, with lazy writing
I can only imagine the 7.0 rating for this film comes from affection for Denzel Washington or Ryan Reynolds, but other than the details of what Denzel has and how Reynolds is going to find him again, the story is old, old, old.

There are easy tip offs to bad/lazy writing (or studio interference). One of the most dependable is that the villain or bad guy or bully is a professed Christian. I know, that's shockingly original. The other tip off of horrendously lazy and creatively bankrupt thriller writing was displayed in this film (and has been done to death by others): *SPOILER, SPOILER* THE VILLAIN IS A BAD CIA AGENT. Whoa, never saw that coming (in the first four minutes of the film). And, the writer/producers just kicked up their laziness a notch by *SPOILER SPOILER* giving us the CIA willing to cover it all up to protect their reputation.

The director tried for a more interesting approach to telling the story, by playing with the chronology of time for short periods within select segment, but, believe me, this was no "Memento." I kept watching, hoping the movie would be better than it was. It could have been really good, I mean, look at all the acting talent that went to waste, like Brendan Gleeson and Reuben Blades. But the most under-used actor was the amazing Vera Farminga in a thankless and one-dimensional role as the tough case-manager chick in The Company. Giving an actress of her caliber such crap should be a creative Felony, punishable by ten years of directing webisodes.
2012-05-26
Denzel Washington delivers once again
¨Remember rule number one: you are responsible for your house guest. I'm your house guest.¨ I can't remember ever watching a Denzel Washington film and being disappointed; he always seems to bring his game or at least choose interesting projects because I always end up enjoying his movies. He is one of the best actors of our time and he is really entertaining. Safe House may not be original or have the best script in the world, but it does have plenty of thrills and good performances to keep you at the edge of your seat throughout the movie. It has several similarities with the Bourne franchise, although not nearly as well crafted. This is a movie that won't stick with you long, but it is good enough to entertain you for two hours and put a smile on your face. I know I can always count on Denzel Washington, and this movie is also powered by Ryan Reynolds performance as well. Both actors bring their A game and deliver a solid entertaining film. I don't know how relatively unknown Swedish director, Daniel Espinosa, got such talented actors to star in his film, but he can be thankful for it because this movie probably wouldn't have worked without them. The script written by David Guggenheim isn't original, several scenes are predictable, but that didn't ruin the film for me. I still had a great time with Safe House. I really didn't like some of the shaky camera work, but I guess it's a trend for several directors these days.

Denzel Washington is Tobin Frost, a former CIA agent who is now one of the most wanted men in the world after going rogue and selling classified information. He runs into a former MI6 agent in Cape Town, South Africa who gives him a disk containing what would seem as some very important information because as soon as he receives it he has dozens of people shooting at him and running after him. Frost has no other alternative but turn himself in at the United States consulate office before these men can get to him. Frost is taken to a Safe House which is guarded by rookie agent Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds). Matt's contact is David Barlow (Brendan Gleeson) who lets him know that the guest will be arriving soon. When Frost arrives along with the CIA team they are ambushed by the same men that were after him before, and Matt has no other choice but to escape with Frost before these guys get to him. Matt has to deal with protecting Frost while at the same time not allowing him to escape and also figuring out who he can trust in the CIA agent because apparently someone is trying to get to them. Matt is forced into having to protect the enemy, but he will soon find out that the enemy could also come from within.

Safe House will probably be one more of those movies you will forget all about because it lacks originality and has nothing memorable about them, but I guarantee you will be entertained during two solid hours thanks to some good performances from Washington and Reynolds. There are also some interesting secondary actors like Brendan Gleeson, Vera Farmiga, Ruben Blades, Robert Patrick, and Sam Shepard who bring their talents to the table, but the truth of the matter is that the success of the film relies entirely on Reynolds and Washington who have proved yet again to be great and entertaining actors. These guys are doing what they do best: action thrillers and despite not having remarkable material to work with they still manage to entertain and keep us at the edge of our seats. Safe House is an enjoyable film, but just don't expect much more than that. Not among Washington's best work, but even mediocre Washington can carry a movie.

http://estebueno10.blogspot.com
2012-04-24
Bourne is Safe
Chop, chop, how was this not directed by Tony Scott?

And even though Safe House starred Scott's long-time male interest, Denzel Washington, I'm more referring to the consistent and nauseating zoom-in's and epileptic shaky camera shots. Mercifully, Scott doesn't make the whole experience into a seizure, but this director, Daniel Espinosa nearly shook the film right out of the camera.

He's pretty wet behind the ears, so hopefully with this somewhat unsuccessful box office zturn; he'll step back with more ease in the future.

At any rate, this Bourne-Rip-Off follows smarter-than-thou Washington as Ex-CIA Tobin Frost selling secrets for many years and his own planned capture pits him with newbie, Matt "promote me, damnit!" Weston (Ryan Reynolds) and off they go fighting killers who want a damaging file. Oh, and the duo dead would be nice for the assassins, as well.

Sadly, the CIA's tracking room – the suits who rarely get dirty, that is, mirrored the Bourne films, but completely without energy or a solid performance. In fact, in place of the fantastic Joan Allen from The Bourne Supremacy and Ultimatum was Vera Farmiga's underwhelming and, frankly boring role. This was sad, because of the two recent hits I've noticed her in, Source Code and Up in the Air, I thought she was excellent and I even wanted to go further into her catalog. This setback won't completely deter me, but damn, she was bad.

I only point her out, because of her past great performances. Everyone else, including the lead, Washington, were pretty, well, plain. Heck, even Robert Patrick underperformed and appears to have aged not so well. The one stand out, and this surprised me, was Reynolds. Despite his clichéd character, he did show depth and we could carry on with his plight…again, in spite of his recycled role.

Overall, the movie wasn't as terrible as I'm making it out to be; it did have its moments. It's certainly a no-thinker and the bouncy action was incredibly hard to follow at times and an absolute annoyance, but for staying in on a Thursday when you have no money until the next day's direct deposit, it's worth a viewing. A, as in one, viewing.
2013-03-03
Hollywood, stop, please just stop doing movies like this
I don't know if it's me that I grew old or that Hollywood isn't cutting anymore, but I'm really tired of this excessive violence, no argument, chasing scenes, more excessive violence that Hollywood is bringing these days.

The movie has very few redeeming values, one of the most important is Ryan Reynolds acting, by far, the best part of the film but, sorry Denzel, your acting just doesn't cut it anymore with me, same old tired despair looks, utter baddies attitude "I know all, I don't get scared anymore" is just beginning to feel nauseous to me.

Denzel Washington was one the worst things this movie brings, this guys is a good actor, but his routine is always the same, he put into his characters so much hopelessness and arrogance that defeats the concept of being fun anymore, he is just too arrogant to watch it on screen anymore, I think I will stop watching his movies from now on, sorry.

The movie is sad, horrific, it glorifies violence above all, does not bring one inch of 'feel-good' moment, except for the first 15 minutes and gives all the wrong, saddest and utterly disgusting aspects of humans, and, really, I'm tired of this....!

Hollywood can go to hell, I'm not planning to see anymore action movies like this, the movie really does have a bad vibe, it made me wanna puke.

If you like to see torture, violence, innocent killing for nothing and bad morals then by all means go see this movie, but If you wanna be entertained with a good and smart script, please look elsewhere.

I hate when movies switch a good script in exchange for brutal violence and needless chase scenes, which this movie does, all the time.

The script is really ridiculous to the extreme and it's been done before, the "bad cops" argument, the secret information everyone want's, the reveal at the end, it's just Bourne Ultimatum all over again and the director seems to be fine by this, because it uses this all tired script as an excuse to show graphic violence.

And THEN people complain that there is violence in the world?

I'm really ashamed of this kinds of movies, can we not get a movie with a good script in which the main attraction is cleverness instead of a guy being brutally killed?

Action genre is getting unwatchable.

3 out of 10 just because of Ryan Reynolds.
2012-05-27
Unoriginal, generic and boring even with the action scenes
This is another movie where the trailer basically shows just about everything and is way better than the actual movie itself. After about 30 minutes into this movie, the constant thought that was running through my head was when this movie was going to end. Cause it's dull and boring all the way through even with the gun fights and the chase scenes. Denzel Washington plays Tobin Frost who was this legendary CIA but turned rogue. In the trailer it seemed like he would be a cold and yet slick character who knew exactly what he is doing. But that was just few minutes into the movie and he keeps making this lazy mistakes for a character who is supposed to be this legendary agent. If he at least kept his character most of the way through it would have been a more watchable more to some degree. The theater was packed for this movies release date but none of the audience seemed excited of enjoying there time while watching this dull and generic movie that is predictable all the way through. Some even left in the middle of this lazy movie. Even two good actors couldn't save this movie from being a utter unoriginal boring movie. I give it a 3.4/10 cause I seen worse.

3.4/10
2012-02-11
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