(2012)

Critic Reviews

52

Metascore

Based on 36 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
78
Director Espinosa stages the endless action with a tremendous flair that recalls John Woo's grittier moments, and cinematographer Oliver Wood, who shot Woo's finest Hollywood moment, "Face/Off," gives the whole violent show a downright brackish look that borders on the sublime.
67
Compared with a superior potboiler like "Salt," which messed with your brain in entertainingly far-fetched ways, Safe House is action-movie porridge gussied up into a less-clever-than-it-seems mystery.
60
Village Voice
[A] scattered but not totally disagreeable CIA conspiracy thriller.
60
Arizona Republic
Too often Washington is made to simply sit and observe -- which is not a fatal mistake because he is such a good actor that even then he's worth watching. Worse, though, at times he's gone altogether. That's not the only flaw in the fairly straightforward thriller, but it's the biggest.
58
Safe House does altogether too good a job establishing Washington as a seemingly unbeatable adversary: He brings so much gravity to his role that Reynolds seems hopelessly overmatched.
50
Variety
In contrast with the fragmented kineticism of Paul Greengrass' "Bourne" movies, there's no existential dimension to the shattered-glass aesthetic here; it's just raw, chaotic action, inelegantly shot and staged but no less unnerving for it.
50
The Hollywood Reporter
Terse and understated, this is a spy vs. spy tale designed to minimize talk and maximize action, not at all a bad thing in movies but over-worked to near-exhaustion here.
50
The pacing is uneven, the frenetic action is rarely suspenseful, the dialogue is neither witty nor intelligent, and the anticlimactic endgame drags out to an improbable conclusion.
50
Charlotte Observer
Crash. Kick. Stab. Punch. Talk (briefly). Smash. Chase. Screech. Shoot. Mumble. That's the wearying pattern of Safe House. Had "think" been an action verb, the movie might have risen above the knee-jerk excitement of the second-tier, "Bourne"-style spy thriller. But it never does.
50
Espinosa never conveys any sort of perspective on the material, as Scott does through his obsessive attention to production detail; the stylization feels empty, distracting from whatever simple pleasures the routine plot (involving double agents and stolen microchips) might have delivered.

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