Maximilian Caliguire-Maier ’15
SAFE is a thrilling action-adventure film with an international flair, written and directed by Boaz Yakin, and starring Jason Statham. Statham plays the protagonist, an ex-cop and former cage fighter named Luke Wright, whose life turns upside down when his wife is murdered by the Russian mafia. Wright must now protect a gifted girl from China, named Mei, who is played by Catherine Chan. Mei was brought to New York City by the Chinese mafia and is now being chased by the Russian mafia and the corrupt New York City Police we well, for she is one of the few with knowledge of the code needed to unlock a safe containing $30 million dollars and a disc with incriminating information about the NYPD. In the end, Luke collects the contents of the safe to buy Mei’s freedom from the Chinese mafia but with an ultimatum to protect her, and the Russian mafia is put back into its place. Although SAFE received mixed reviews, 2 out 3 viewers found this action-packed and thrilling film worthwhile due to its exhilarating scenes and linguistic diversity of English, Mandarin Chinese and Russian. Yakin’s direction of quick cuts develops a fast and energizing tempo of the plot, and moreover allows his protagonist to appeal to the audience as a hero who wants to save the Chinese girl.
Yakin’s slick direction, marked by quick cuts, unstinting energy and a lack of sentimentality, makes the action scenes satisfying,” but thought the dialogue was “riddled with clichés.” Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times scored the film 3/5, saying “Yakin gives his star plenty of room to look mean, think fast, drive faster, punch, quip, mow down and charismatically bond with the most imperiled child character in screen memory.” Kim Newman gave the film 4 stars out of five in Empire Magazine, describing it as “A rough, exhausting, exhilarating action picture with a payoff which would have delighted Sam Fuller or Howard Hawks“.[