Movie Review: 'Safe House' -- 3 stars
Directed by Daniel Espinosa
Starring Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson
Two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington has been giving the same serious, world-weary-with-a-hint-of-crazy action-flick performance for the past decade or so, starring in movies ranging from the neo-noir "Out of Time" to the hyperkinetic "Man on Fire" to the painstakingly old-fashioned "Unstoppable."
"Safe House," his latest, is no exception. It is a rote effort in a lot of ways. But Washington is one of those rare actors blessed with enough natural charisma that he can repeat things and still entertain, while director Daniel Espinosa imbues his South Africa-set action picture with enough suspense and conviction to overcome its cliches.
Washington plays a much-sought-after fugitive named Tobin Frost, who winds up on the run in Cape Town with low-level CIA agent Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) after the safe house Weston runs is besieged and destroyed by gunmen seeking Frost.
Boasting an unusual location, smartly crafted chase scenes and relentless
full-throttle intensity, "Safe House" is a lot of fun - when it's not indulging in the overwrought shaky, washed-out aesthetic that's characteristic of too many action movies these days.