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Movie Review: Safe House

Chasing Denzel might be a better title
by Gelo Gonzales | Feb 9, 2012
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There is a whole lot going on in Denzel Washington’s newest flick, Safe House, now showing all over the Metro.

Perhaps that is to be expected, seeing it is after all, a Hollywood action blockbuster.

There is no shortage of explosions, cars on a high octane chase, bloody brawls, and gun fights.

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Highly entertaining material. It’s the kind of movie that girlfriends might only watch as a favor to their guy.

“No One Is Safe” goes the movie’s tagline. In that regard, it is successful, because rarely do you get the feeling that the leads are ever really secure at any given moment. Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) is a CIA agent gone rogue. He is accused of trading confidential information.

It is revealed that he is some sort of legend. If this were a Quentin Tarantino movie, he’d be called Tobin Fucking Frost just because he’s that bad ass. Denzel’s portrayal of the grizzled character is handled with subtlety and brutality. Rarely does the actor snarl like a wolf, but you just know that you don’t want to mess with the guy.

                                 We mean just look at that stare. That's a man-stare right there.

A long time after he went MIA, Frost resurfaces in South Africa. He is apprehended and taken to a CIA “safe house,” which is apparently where opposing figures are taken for interrogation. In this case, Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is the keeper of that particular safe house. Still green behind the ears, young Weston is looking for a chance to prove himself. Reynolds nails the part, playing it like a kid who’s stepping on new ground, and extending boundaries—curious and wary at the same time.
Weston gets his chance soon enough. Goons break into the safe house, Frost escapes, Weston gives chase, and in the process, we all learn just why all these guys want nothing more in the world than to find Fucking Frost. Of course there are conspiracies. That much we expect in a movie about intelligence agencies. You know someone’s bound to get double-crossed at one point.

Though the action is indeed primo stuff (although it does nothing to innovate), there’s a point when you just want the film to cut to the chase, and get the plot moving. At times, the flow gets mired up, that you have to keep reminding yourself why you should care. The whole passing-of-the-torch theme figures in late as Weston and Frost develop a working relationship, where Weston eventually discovers that nothing’s what it seems. Something that viewers schooled in this kind of cinema would have known already.

                                             "What do you mean my 'fro's too big?"

Is there simply too much going on? Not if you’re simply looking for a solid action flick. But if loud explosions booming through the cinema’s surround sound system aren’t enough to keep you awake, and you’d like more surprising twists, you could surmise that yes, there’s simply too much going on that you’d much rather sleep through.       

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