February 12, 2012 by Vinnie Leduc
As fans of both actors, I’m all for Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds (minus Green Lantern) and machine guns and fast editing, but Safe House was a big disappointment. The generic action thriller, Swedish director Daniel Espinosa’s first US film, actually put me to sleep for a second or two. During an action sequence. That’s how generic and “thrilling” Safe House was, as well as considerably predictable.
I was waiting for a more ruthless, badass-mofo version of Denzel (which the previews insinuated), à la Training Day, American Gangster, or Man on Fire, but all I got was a shell of that even though Denzel does everything he can with the starring role and is fully committed to it as always during torture scenes.
Similarly, Ryan Reynolds regresses to a shell of his better dramatic performances, such as in Buried and Smokin’ Aces. Even his usual smart-ass remarks were relatively muzzled. I’d chalk this one up to a miscasting because even though Reynolds still looks relatively young and can pull the part, you wouldn’t think of somebody as well established now as he is when going for a low-level CIA agent yearning for a breakout chance.
Beyond the two headliners, Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson, and Robert Patrick lend supporting turns, but none of them are given much opportunity to shine or steal scenes, which they’re very well capable of. Safe House doesn’t have any exceptionally memorable parts, but there are a handful of cool moments. MOMENTS though, not sequences. Don’t get too excited.
And don’t get tricked by Jay-Z and Kanye in the trailer’s tight soundtrack. Safe House underutilizes its R rating and plays it too safely. Aside for a few nice shots, there’s nothing to see here. Move along. If you really must, wait for it to come to Redbox or Netflix or whatever you use it watch things in your own house. Safe House gets 2 out of 5 stars or C or Okay.