Movie Review - Safe House

Denzel Washington stars as Tobin Frost, a rogue CIA agent. Much like Tom Cruise in Knight and Day, you don't know if he's a good guy or bad guy. He doesn't get as much screen time as Ryan Reynolds who co-stars as Matt Weston, a fellow CIA agent who works as the keeper of a government safe house, which turns out to be not all that safe, when all of a sudden Reynolds becomes Robert Redford's character in Three Days of the Condor (1975) but with high speed car chases and chaos breaking out in soccer stadiums

Director Daniel Espinoza essentially uses the same aesthetic as Washington's last film Unstoppable, but at least here Washington has more to do. Washington gets a couple of fight scenes. They're not as intense as the ones Reynolds gets. Washington's character is mostly handcuffed, but he does get to play mind games with Reynolds. Given the situation that evolves, Reynolds and Washington are like Christian Bale and Russell Crowe in 3:10 to Yuma.

Vera Farmiga and Brendan Gleeson have supporting roles doing a modern, clumsier, American version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I mentioned Tom Cruise earlier who of course is known for his Mission: Impossible spy films. This one ends on a similar note as the fourth one, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.

I hate to be one of those critics that constantly compares movies to past ones only to use them to knock down current ones. This film works on the basic levels of action movie criteria, but it doesn't nearly have as much fun or possess the ingenuity of Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. It doesn't have the detail or artistic value of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Nor does it even have the character development or great acting moments of 3:10 to Yuma. It certainly doesn't have any kind of political insight or intrigue as Three Days of the Condor. I didn't even understand Tobin's motives ultimately. It's a slight step above Unstoppable but that's not saying much.

Two Stars out of Five.
Rated R for strong violence and language.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 55 mins.


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