The all-out action movie is dead, we all know this. The Mission: Impossible, Bond and Bourne series are spy films, the Transformers series is based on a cartoon and toy series, and the Fast and Furious series is… an anomaly. Gone are the days when cops chased drug dealers and everything went BOOM along the way, and I for one miss that. I would, however, prefer action films never to be made again than seeing B-movie output in the shape of Safe taking over the mantel.
That’s not to say that Safe is a terrible film because it does have its merits in 2012. The action is loud, violent and frequent and it doesn’t rely on CGI to entice its audience, mainly because writer/director Boaz Yakin has attempted to make an ‘old school’ action film and doesn’t have the budget to do much else. The budget is so (relatively) small that he goes out of his way to show as much of New York as he can when filming on location and some of the locations are there just to see the skyline before we cut away to somewhere much cheaper to film (e.g. Philadelphia). Still, a film maker must do the best with what he can and Yakin does a decent job throughout and there is barely a shaky-cam in sight which came as a big and welcome surprise.
The real issue here is the complete lack of originality and the dreadful sense of having seen it all before and done so much better. Why even bother make a film like Safe for theatrical release when it looks like it belongs on Video On Demand? The film is nothing more than a violent TV movie and Jason Statham simply does not have the charisma of a Willis, Gibson, Stallone, or Schwarzenegger to make the audience believe in him and the ridiculous on-screen antics. He tries hard but is never convincing which is a shame because if you were to put Bruce Willis in this film, tighten the story, and clean up some of the atrocious dialogue, you might have something. I still believe a good leading man makes all the difference in action films, and Statham is not that man. He may have his place amongst a certain audience, but he and his films have yet to convince me.
Morbometer™: 4.3 OUT OF 10