Review: Safe House

In our opinion. everything Denzel Washington touches (well, acts in) turns to gold. The Bone Collector, Man on Fire, Deja Vu…all extremely watchable because of Washington. His faultless performances never change and his youthful looks don’t either – and this is the same for latest action flick Safe House.

Washington plays rogue CIA agent Tobin Frost who is brought into a ‘safe house’ in South Africa. The safe house is under the care of young CIA agent Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) who has the responsibility of looking after Frost. But when the safe house is compromised and invaded by the enemy who are after Frost, both CIA agents find themselves on the run and dodging bullets.

The movie has been compared to the Bourne series, which is to be expected as the film shares the same cinematographer Oliver Wood. The comparison is unfair though as at no point does it try to be a Bourne film. Yes the CIA references and action scenes are both heavily featured, but the plot line and relationship dynamics are completely different. Both Washington and Reynolds play completely different characters and both form an unlikely on-screen friendship which lights up the somewhat blood-splattered screen.

The duo’s relationship is familiar and it’s probably because Washington often takes on the role of a mentor. Think him and Angelina Jolie in the Bone Collector and you’ll understand what we mean. The chemistry between Washington and Reynolds is great and the action scenes are very realistic – the car chase scene where Frost attempts to strangle Weston is particularly shocking. There are some gory scenes which are difficult to watch but this does add to the authenticity.

The setting, Cape Town, compliments the hectic and fast paced shots. The scenes are always packed with people and the dusty, busy roads make a good setting for the nail-biting chase scenes.

Safe House is quite different to other action films we’ve seen before. The fighting skills of both characters aren’t that of a superhero or even a super slick fighter. Both men fight realistically – sometimes winning and sometimes losing. The shaky camera work makes you feel like you’re there in the action but does have a tendency to make you want to vomit too. If you can hack a bit of gore and like action thrillers then you’ll like this.

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