Movie Review: 'Safe' -- 2.5 stars
Directed by Boaz Yakin
Starring Jason Statham, Catherine Chan and Chris Sarandon
Jason Statham is at his usual tough-guy best in the NYC-set action flick "Safe," in which he's hunted by everyone from the mob to the mayor. But the convoluted, goofy movie lets him down.
Statham plays Luke Wright, a cop turned cage fighter who's on the run after costing an underworld bigwig money by failing to throw a fight. He crosses paths with Mei (Catherine Chan), a young Chinese girl who's being sought by all kinds of dastardly bad guys. They're after an elaborate, valuable numerical code that she's memorized.
Luke becomes Mei's protector, navigating a city filled with outsized villains, including the Chinese and Russian mobs, corrupt cops and the aforementioned mayor (Chris Sarandon), who stomps around Gracie Mansion looking very tense.
At its core, "Safe" is a simple, old-fashioned B movie, featuring a wronged, macho everyman fighting off waves of cartoonish bad guys. That's not necessarily a bad thing.
The problem is that it's impossible to take seriously. While writer-director Boaz Yakin stages some compelling action sequences that aren't hampered by overwrought cutting or mediocre CGI, the movie is basically one giant red herring. It's blatantly geared toward nothing more than the expected full-throttle Statham butt-kicking, while saddling his archetypal character with a young companion to give him "depth."