Film Pulse Score

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Release Date: February 10, 2012
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Daniel Espinosa
FilmPulse Score: 4.5/10

Safe House is the latest action/spy offering from director Daniel Espinosa and stars Denzel Washington as a disgraced and traitorous CIA agent, and Ryan Reynolds, the agent in charge of the safe house Washington is taken to after being captured. All does not go as planned however, when the safe house becomes compromised and the two find themselves working together to survive.

If you are looking for a formulaic, dull, spy thriller, then this film may be for you. If you are looking for anything else, stay far away. Even with two strong leads, this flick barely gets off the ground. Taking the term mediocrity to amazing levels, this film achieves at excelling in nothing what so ever.

The plot of the film is lackluster and predictable. You know when every action scene is about to begin, who every bad guy is, and can easily infer how the film will end. All your predictions will probably be right, not because you’re some sort of prophet, but because there are no risks taken with the script.

The same can be said for the rest of the film as well. Rather than putting forth some effort with the cinematography, the film makers decide to opt for the saturated Tony Scott look, with the inclusion of completely bewildering action scenes. Many action films use close ups or shaking cams to stylize fight scenes, but Safe House uses both techniques simultaneously and creates some confusing action. Was that a leg I just saw? Wait, who just got stabbed? I felt like punching myself in the face just so I knew who was getting hit.

This is all very unfortunate because Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds both deliver solid performances, as one might expect, but they are overshadowed by all the other shortcomings of the film. The two leads are the film’s only saving graces, and this has straight to DVD written all over it if you take them away.

Many times, bad films had the potential to be good films if it weren’t for certain mistakes like poor directing, or bad dialogue, or casting Taylor Lautner. This movie does not fall into this category, however. It’s plagued by entirely too many problems to be good on any level with any amount of changes. If you’re looking for a better flick, check out the Bourne films, or even 16 Blocks with Bruce Willis and Mos Def.

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