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Safe House (2012)

6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 127,024 users   Metascore: 52/100
Reviews: 255 user | 285 critic | 36 from Metacritic.com

A young CIA agent is tasked with looking after a fugitive in a safe house. But when the safe house is attacked, he finds himself on the run with his charge.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Keller
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Vargas
Jenna Dover ...
CIA Analyst
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CIA Analyst
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CIA Analyst
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CIA Analyst
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Storyline

Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is a CIA rookie who is manning a safe house in Cape Town, South Africa, when Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) the CIA's most wanted rogue agent is captured and taken to the safe house. During Frost's interrogation, the safe house is overtaken by mercenaries who want Frost. Weston and Frost escape and must stay out of the gunmen's sight until they can get to another safe house. Written by Douglas Young (the-movie-guy)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

No One Is Safe


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence throughout and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

10 February 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Safe House  »

Box Office

Budget:

$85,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$40,172,720 (USA) (10 February 2012)

Gross:

$126,149,655 (USA) (11 May 2012)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an early draft of the screenplay, Matt Weston's ability to catch up to Tobin Frost was explained thusly: during his time at the CIA's academy for new agents in training, "The Farm", Frost's file was assigned to Weston as his case study. Weston had memorized Frost's history and used this data to explain to the CIA leaders where Frost would go once he was on the run. The scenes where Weston tracks down Frost in the South African township were kept for the final draft, but altered so Weston used ad hoc research skills to locate his charge. See more »

Goofs

The US Consulate is not in the CBD of Cape Town. It is actually in Tokai, 27km by road from where it is shown in the movie. See more »

Quotes

Daniel Kiefer: I'm here to make you aware of your rights... you have none, but you know that.
Tobin Frost: Six-hundreds.
[looks at waterboarding towels in bucket]
Tobin Frost: The towels, you need six-hundreds. Those are 350, 375-gram weight. You're gonna need six-hundreds.
Daniel Kiefer: [looking at waterboarding bucket] Khalid Sheikh Mohammed lasted 20 seconds.
Tobin Frost: They had six-hundreds.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Herbert (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

No Church in the Wild
Written by Kanye West, Jay-Z (as Shawn Carter), Mike Dean, Charles Njapa, Gary Wright, Phil Manzanera, James Brown, Joseph Maloy Roach, The Dream (as Terius Nash), Frank Ocean
Performed by Kanye West & Jay-Z featuring Frank Ocean
Courtesy of The Island Def Jam Music Group
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
Contains a sample of "Don't Tell a Lie About Me and I Won't Tell the Truth About You"
Performed by James Brown
Courtesy of Universal Records
and Contains a sample of "Sunshine Help Me"
Performed by Spooky Tooth
Courtesyof Universal-Island Records Ltd.
and Contains a sample of "K-Scope"
Performed by Phil Manzanera
Courtesy of Virgin Records Ltd.
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Fulfills Its Popcorn Intentions But Little Else
12 February 2012 | by (Toronto, ON, Canada) – See all my reviews

Safe House is a movie that fulfils its popcorn intentions, but metaphorically brings to mind the image of a bobble-head – a bloated brain supported by little else, springing uncontrollably in different directions. When the action ramps up, Safe House is at its best, providing ample energy, a plethora or gunplay and a number of gritty combat sequences. When pausing to forward the plot, spew exposition or focus on perfunctory romances, it grinds to a halt. Safe House would be better viewed with a remote equipped with a fast forward button nearby.

Thankfully for Safe House, the sequences with action outnumber those without, so it comes out on top on a percentage basis alone. What makes it slip just out of the realm of solid praise is that it really fails as a tense, psychological duel of wits. I mean c'mon you have the one of the coolest actors working today (Denzel Washington of course) trying to escape his confines with only a lowly safe house guard (Ryan Reynolds) in his way – use it! The trailers and radio ads prominently feature the line "I'm already in your head", but the movie itself offers little in the way of subtle manipulation or mind games. All we get are a few scenes where Washington's Tobin Frost intimidates the crap out of the inexperienced operative and forebodingly warns that the CIA will screw him one day.

Now that I've kicked this movie while it's down, let me tell you what it does very well: bloodshed. I already mentioned the ample high-octane set pieces, but of course volume of action does not always translate directly to a solid film ("Transformers" springs to mind) it has to bring something to the table. Safe House earns its R-rating in many an instance with sometimes uncomfortably realistic shootouts, brutal interrogations and wonderfully choreographed (but wince-inducing) hand- to-hand combat sequences. If you think that John McClane looks rough at the end of a "Die Hard" flick, wait until you see how Reynolds looks when the credits roll. Refreshingly, this is not the kind of movie where a character is shot, grits his teeth a little bit, holds his wound and then ten minutes later they have apparently forgotten about it. You feel every punch and when somebody gets stabbed they writhe on the floor in pain and when somebody gets shot they are likely not getting back up.

There are also a handful of lengthy chase sequences through the streets of Cape Town, a soccer stadium and the slums of Langa and in all instances deliver. They are easy to follow, high-energy and far more real-world than we're normally accustomed when talking about a Hollywood car chase. In all of these sequences (automotive or otherwise) we have Reynolds front and center. Safe House is really a Ryan Reynolds movie masquerading as a Denzel Washington film, though that is not to say Washington is relegated to a just supporting role, it is simply more focused on our in-way-over-his-head rookie than the lethal pro. Reynolds is the surprise here, not only holding his own against the veteran but delivering his best mainstream performance to date (there is not a hint of his wise-cracking The Green Lantern or Deadpool characters to be found here).

Curiously, there were very few one-liners delivered by Washington and though he oozed charisma through his presence alone, I would have liked to see a little more sizzle; one more duty that lands on the script, which just offers nothing in the way of interesting dialogue, insights into the mind of a killer or even a brisk pace for that matter. As a movie to pop in the DVD player with some buds, however (one that you can tune out the downtimes between action set pieces) it delivers absolutely and does offer one of the rarer instances for Washington to do his bad guy thing – a welcome sight.

Rating: 6.5/10


38 of 59 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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