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Safe House More at IMDbPro »

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8 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

A cheap imitation Bourne

Author: David Pereira Greditzer from concord ca
12 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Nothing original or fun here. Lots of continuity and what I perceive to be technical errors IMHO, but what do I know:

1. CIA guys guarding the safehouse in Capetown are armed with long guns, when they knew they would be indoors. They would use subs. 2. When the door is breached, these guys would know that a FB is coming in, yet no one covers their ears. 3. In the rolling car chase with full auto fire from carbines, the bad guy adds a suppressor to his handgun which he is firing from a hand extended out of the vehicle. If her were firing in the vehicle, this might be a good idea so one's eardrums are not blown, but useless otherwise. 4. Reynolds character kills a cop in a Capetown Stadium, home of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The news reports have neither a surveillance shot of his face, not his passport pic, despite knowing his name. 5. In another rolling gun battle, the hammer on Reynolds Sig is not cocked back after it has been discharged. 6. Pretty sure that was a Sig P226 in 40, as that is the duty weapon of choice for CIA diplomatic cover case officers. Pretty sure I counted Reynolds firing 14 rounds. It holds 10 plus 1, or 12 plus 1 with a high-cap. 7. Bad guys charging their automatic weapons in the middle of a firefight. Really?

Any experts out there have thoughts? Am I mistaken?

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9 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Below average action flick.

Author: filipeduarterusso
27 February 2012

"Move along people, nothing -new- to see here". This old police saying (with a twist) certainly fits in this movie's review.

The movie starts promising but soon after that you realize that this movie will be nothing new. We've seen it all before.

There are so many plot holes that makes you wonder if they writers gave any credit to the viewers intelligence when they wrote it.

On top of that, the action sequences are nothing to brag about. Plus the shaky camera style doesn't help. There is also a pretty useless romantic subplot that doesn't add anything other than useless minutes to a movie that shouldn't have been more than 80 minutes.

Ryan Reynolds has a pretty good performance, but Denzel Washington's action performances are really getting old and clichéd. Don't get me wrong, he was once a great reliable actor, and still is a great actor, but the amount of average action movies that he has been doing lately makes me wonder if he has some gambling debts to settle.

The rest of the cast seems a bit out of place.

With that said, not all is bad. If you are the action type you will probably be a bit entertained, just don't expect to be blown away.

My 5/10 stars rating suggests that is worth a watch.

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9 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

What a waste of talent...

Author: GibszZZz from Montreal, Canada
12 February 2012

What a waste of talent, especially Denzel with his amazing presence, and Ryan Reynolds that surprised me. That promising actor really took it to a whole new level this time. The rest of the cast consisted of great and amazing actors such as Brendan Gleeson, Sam Shepard, Vera Farmiga, and Robert Patrick, but their roles literally and merely reflected STOPGAPS. No conflicts, no turning points, nothing that justified their motivations. The movie is too predictable, especially with all these thugs chasing our characters and running around.

I you saw the Bourne films, you'll feel that Daniel Espinosa tried, and tried, and tried again in an awful way to copy-paste that movie beautifully done Paul Greengrass. Overusing the shaky-cam technique, the director dizzied us the whole movie with car chases, obscure fighting scenes, exacerbated with deafening shootouts. Furthermore, you'll notice that you will have to force yourself to focus on the characters mouths to understand what they are saying.

The script focuses on an action-thriller-Hollywood movie lacking substance. We could tell that the screenwriter is young in his ink where the story should not dictate the character's motivations, but it's him that should define the story motivated by his quest. While watching the movie, ask yourself what is the quest of Denzel? What is the quest of Vera Farminga? What is the quest of Brendan Gleeson? Where are the conflicts, obstacles?

This movie seriously lacks of respectable dialogues, cinematography, and editing. It's not about the legendary Tobin Frost, but about the legendary Denzel. Don't waste your money. Don't sit up front; you'll be dizzy as hell. Finally, even though, Denzel and Ryan tried their best to save this movie, rent all 3 Jason Bourne movies, and I guaranty you will have a better night.

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11 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

A fast-paced race against time featuring an experienced mentor and an up-and-comer.

Author: Greg Smith from Richmond, VA
20 February 2012


MINI-REVIEW: A fast-paced race against time featuring an experienced mentor and an up-and-comer.

RATING: Wait for the instant download (Rating System: "See it in theaters," "Wait for the instant download," "Don't waste your time."

Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is a green CIA agent looking to make his transition from ordinary agent to field agent. He is stuck with the boring job of sitting in a "safe house" - a secret location for detaining prisoners ("house guests") until they can be moved to a more secure location.

Things are pretty boring until Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) is brought it. Frost is a notorious double agent known for his ability to evade capture. No sooner is Frost secured in Weston's safe house than a bunch of bad guys storm the place to capture Frost. Weston takes charge and ushers Frost out of the building. Weston wants to get Frost to a new safe house but he is nagged by the question of how the bad guys knew where to find Frost – there must be a mole in the CIA. Now Weston must deliver Frost, discover Frost's secret, and expose the CIA mole before they find him. And we're off…

"Safe House" uses the device of the mature, older, agent as mentor to push the Weston character to look at himself and ask hard questions: Is this the life I want? Will I ever have a decent relationship? Who can I ever really trust?

Denzel Washington walks effortlessly through the role of Tobin Frost. He manipulates Weston by forcing him to think about things that, as a younger man, Frost had to confront himself. I haven't seen Washington in a movie in a long time. I was pleasantly surprised to see the actor that I remembered from such fine movies as "Philadelphia" and "Crimson Tide." He was just as good as ever, and had mellowed with age.

Ryan Reynolds held his own against Washington, playing the younger, inexperienced agent who learns fast. Reynolds has had a lot of screen time recently in such movies as "Green Lantern," "The Proposal," and "The Change Up." He usually plays a comic character – which is appropriate as he holds a comic resume ("Van Wilder," and TV's "Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place.") Here, he plays a full-on action hero to Washington's more experienced mentor.

The dynamic between these two players is exciting to watch. There is no apparent competition on-screen (which is so often the case when mega- personalities come together). Instead, there is a wonderful creative collaboration that results in an entertaining action flick.

Sadly, the surrounding plot is pretty predictable and does not support the two players. The action is acceptable, but the real movie is about the older, wiser man guiding the younger man. Perhaps it isn't just the characters who are playing out the mentor/mentee relationship, but the actors as well.

So, for a predictable action/spy plot with two fine actors playing their roles perfectly, I can only recommend that you wait for the instant download.

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14 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

Denzel Bourne : Twice the shaky cam and very little of the style and wit

Author: MosHr from United States
7 February 2012

First thing about watching "Safe House" in the theaters: do not, I repeat DO NOT, sit in the front half of the cinema; I would suggest sitting in the back row unless you want to get nauseated and dizzy. Why? The shaky cam is really bad on this movie. Even in the non-action scenes, the camera is never still and constantly moving. During action scenes the camera all over the place creating headache inducing jerkiness and bobbling that can only be described by comparing it to symptoms of deadly diseases. The constant camera movement in the non-action scenes is also so bad that during each and every conversation in the movie, it's slowly rocking side to side for absolutely no reason, giving sea-sickness.

Add to the shaky cam that half the movie is a close up of a close up. The faces take up most of the screen and go beyond even the field of vision. On top of that, add the way too much frequent cuts. It's a real eyeball and brain buster.

However, if you're one of these people who are immune to shaky cam, the next topic is of course Denzel. Denzel gives his greatest hits: the Denzel-against-the-world Denzel, the Training-Day Denzel and the drama Denzel. Denzel is supposed to be playing a character Tobin Frost, but it's like we are watching Denzel Washington do his thing rather than Tobin Frost.

Safe House borrows heavily from the Bourne movies, not just the shaky cam but the large screened command centers at the Pentagon and the mannerisms of the staff there. Another Bournesque element is the fights between trained agents; however in this movie, they just seem to be of lower quality with slower labored movements and the scenes reduced to a frantic blur. The singular car chase scene despite being the highlight of the action sequences, is also unsatisfying.

The real oddity of the movie is how philosophical it wants to be about lives of CIA "employees". The movie gives us these long sullen monologues on relationships, pasts and futures, innocent victims etc. These musings would probably have some gravity if any of the characters were more than half dimensional and possessed some sort of personality. What we end up in the movie are a bunch of really big talking heads, sprouting lots of hollow dialog and adding to that headache.

Other minor things, the water-boarding scene that the trailer alludes to completely flubbed. It is as exciting as watching someone water their lawn.

Speaking of product placements, "Safe House" has been commandeered as a product placement vehicle for a certain brand of car that only makes boxy SUVs. Each and every car in the movie is of this brand; I mean every government car, every bad guy car, all 3-4 cars jacked along the way is a boxy SUV. This way too silly and distractingly sticks out.

In summary, Safe House would have been a mediocre but watchable movie without the shaky cam. With the shaky cam, it's just a big headache inducing mess. Devout Denzel followers might get something out of it but for most action fans, I would suggest waiting for the DVD version which it is more suited for.

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15 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Engaging thriller

Author: DarkVulcan29 ( from United States
17 February 2012

Tobin Frost(Denzel Washington) a former CIA agent that went rouge, and is now on the run, turns himself in to CIA headquarters, to avoid being captured by terrorist. Matt Weston(Ryan Reynolds) join the others on his first assignment, but when headquarters are shot down by the people trying to capture Frost. Matt takes Frost out of there safely, and the two soon become hunted. But who can they trust, or can they trust each other, and will they get out this alive?

I'm surprised by the bad reviews, this was a gritty real action movie, it never tries to be a simply guilty pleasure. Ryan Reynolds was great, never plays it real goofy, and so was Denzel Washington, I like how we where not sure what to of his character is he good or bad? Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleason, and Sam Shepard are also great too.

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15 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Unoriginal, generic and boring even with the action scenes

Author: KineticSeoul from United States
11 February 2012

This is another movie where the trailer basically shows just about everything and is way better than the actual movie itself. After about 30 minutes into this movie, the constant thought that was running through my head was when this movie was going to end. Cause it's dull and boring all the way through even with the gun fights and the chase scenes. Denzel Washington plays Tobin Frost who was this legendary CIA but turned rogue. In the trailer it seemed like he would be a cold and yet slick character who knew exactly what he is doing. But that was just few minutes into the movie and he keeps making this lazy mistakes for a character who is supposed to be this legendary agent. If he at least kept his character most of the way through it would have been a more watchable more to some degree. The theater was packed for this movies release date but none of the audience seemed excited of enjoying there time while watching this dull and generic movie that is predictable all the way through. Some even left in the middle of this lazy movie. Even two good actors couldn't save this movie from being a utter unoriginal boring movie. I give it a 3.4/10 cause I seen worse.


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16 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Watch if you like mindless shootouts

Author: good-decision from United Kingdom
3 March 2012

Taking into consideration the quality of Washington's previous movies, this is perhaps one of his worst ever. Endless shootouts with no purpose, flat done-to-death story. I was hugely surprised that this is what he has to say yes to and waste a year's worth of work for! I was tempted to leave 45 minutes later. And when I left when the movie was over, I regretted I didn't leave earlier. Miss it, and save your cash. I would really like to know how in hell this movie got a seven and why!

The movie is a long never-ending scene after scene of shoot outs (and as usual nobody gets hurt), and car chases that are very lame. One after the other, after the other, after the other, after the other. No thrill in it either. I cant bet you that in a few months time when many enough movie goers went to see it, the rating will drop to around 5.

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32 out of 63 people found the following review useful:

Nothing new, a dumb actioneer that has to reach an end somehow

Author: vostf ( from Paris, Fr
2 March 2012

When I first heard about the movie I was expecting more of a "Safe House" suspense, an 'Assault on Precinct 13' kind of single-location tense thriller. Then the trailer gave away it was all out action, but it still looked cleverer than it really is (and I think I know what to look for in those nicely packaged samples).

The only original thing was to have the action unfold in South Africa, still it was nothing more than a gimmick. The only plot point is about CIA not having backup teams available so far down on the overlooked continent, but aside from this the action could easily have been relocated to LA. When there's a furious car chase in a Bourne movie you know it's a different country, but Downtown Cape Town, sunny highways, what's the difference?

Safe House, the title, is still high concept, too bad they just used it as a starting point to yet another overblown actioneer. Characters are flimsy, even more so as they run to give and get lots of blows and run here and there until it's time to kill those who get in the way of a simplified ending.

Lots of dumb violence - I mean violence is not dumb with Jason Bourne, it's realistic, sharp and short - and then cut to a nice cute clean ending. Blah.

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47 out of 93 people found the following review useful:

Decent Movie, but a waste of some real Talent

Author: giantpanther from United States
10 February 2012

My rating of 5/10 is at once both generous and not. Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington do the best they can but ultimately the director hits the wrong tone and the cinematography is at times distractingly bad.

Here's what the previews led me to believe, Reynolds is young and driven but inexperienced as the keeper of a safe house, Washington is an old professional rogue agent who will offer him advice. None of that advice was ever really shared, I thought a certain bond would be formed between Washington and Reynolds or at least a hesitant mutual respect but none of that took shape.

I kept waiting for that point where one character proves to be more than what we were led to believe early on that they were, but no. Washington and Reynold's characters of Weston and Tobin stay the same throughout the whole movie, Weston is none the wiser because of Tobin and thats all there is to it.

Still there's enough basic action and minimal suspense to keep you entertained during a matinée showing so on that level I can't knock the film. The problem is there were several moments where I was left wondering why not a little more exploration into these characters or the story.

Also while watching the movie I just assumed it was PG-13, I never pay attention to the ratings but none of the violent fight scenes were that particularly violent so I told myself oh it must be because they needed to maintain the PG-13 but no, this movie is an R and yet they still avoided showing brutal fight scenes. All of the violence was so rapidly edited together and shot from such obscure angles that you can barely even tell what is going on.

I give credit to Washington and Reynolds for doing the best they could to overcome weak direction, editing, cinematography, and screen writing.

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