Synopsis: Luke Wright is a two-bit cage fighter, until the day he throws a fixed match. In retaliation, the Russian mob murders his family and destroys his life. Though alone and haunted by grief, Luke springs into action to save a Chinese girl (Catherine Chan) from the same gangsters who killed his family — and lands in the middle of a high-stakes war. The girl is no ordinary child; she’s a math prodigy who holds in her head a numerical code for which various factions are ready to kill.
Of all Jason Statham action movies, Safe might be his underrated gem. The story portrays the stages of grief, depression and suicide. It isn’t just another action movie with minimal plot. Statham puts on potentially his best performance too. We the audience, get to see the aftermath of his family’s murder and all the terrible contingencies the Russians have for him. There’s a scene where it looks like all hope is lost for Luke, until he spots the little girl in danger. That sets the film on the real course of redemption and revenge.
Now remember, this a lower-budget action-flick from 2012. Relying very little on CGI, director Boaz Yakin is able to do his best and deliver some intense and violent sequences. The story may be similar to other films, however that’s just a case of the oversaturation for the action genre. At least this story has the drama, heart and stakes.
Most of its flaws come from the characters. Many are one dimensional, especially Wright’s ex-cop “friends”. We know there’s history but it’s never really explored. Us the audience, just have to depend on imagination in order to find the sense. Still, Statham makes the most of the script and guides us through Luke Wright’s journey of redemption in the best ways he can; grit and action.
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