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Safe House (2012)
65 out of 96 people found the following review useful:
"Safe House" is a exhilarating action thriller with explosive stunts and sequences., 7 February 2012

One of the CIA's most wanted, Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington), is back on the run after a ten-year disappearance. This alerts the CIA and sends their team to a gripping chase in Cape Town, South Africa. At a remote location, the CIA's safe house is guarded by a rookie operative, Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds). The house have been empty for years, involving no guests or action. At the arrival of Frost and the intelligence, a brutal investigation occurs. Phased by the presence of a notorious criminal, Weston becomes nervous and confused. In the midst of questioning, mercenaries invade the house and begins a killing spree in an effort to kidnap Frost as well. Frost reminds Weston, that as a house guest, he is to be protected. This sends Weston to a dizzying panic and eventually escapes along with Frost.

"Safe House" is a exhilarating action thriller with explosive stunts and sequences. The team behind the film stages multiple exciting scenes that involve beat down rooftops in the rural areas as well as heart-stopping car chases along the streets. Frost is an intelligent man. Being a former intelligence, who's gone rogue, he knows the rules and procedures. Most of the time, he's fascinated by watching Weston carry out his duties. Weston is continuously conflicted, looking for ways to hide Frost. Yet, Frost never makes it easy for him, as he tries to escape as well. Weston communicates with one of his supervisors, David Barlow (Brendan Gleeson), to determine their next move. But, the gunmen are determined to kill Frost, forcing Weston to take matters into his own hands.

Denzel Washington is an actor full of intensity. He can sit there and watch Reynolds do his thing and still convey the deepest of his character's emotions. He gives Frost both a terrifying presence and a sympathetic feel. Ryan Reynolds, on the other hand, manages to stand along Washington and give the same intensity. His wits and charisma works perfectly for his distressed rookie persona. The film succeeds best because of this tandem, allowing the actors to build a good enough relationship to carry out the entire film.

"Safe House" is a great action thriller with non-stop action. This is the first mainstream feature for Daniel Espinosa and he comes forth as promising due to his skillful camera work with the action scenes. One of the most impressive is the rooftop chase at night. The editing is pitch perfect as it allows the audience to feel the danger of the situation from each point of view. This film could have been bleak and predictable if the leads were miscast but Washington and Reynolds' enigma make the film satisfyingly fun and fresh.

Haywire (2011)
24 out of 47 people found the following review useful:
Well-Acted, Well-Edited, Well-Directed- A First Rate Action Thriller, 19 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Haywire" is divided by places- Upstate New York, Barcelona, Dublin, Majorca, New Mexico, each holding significance to Mallory Kane's (Gina Carano) revenge. She's a freelance covert operative, working across the globe. In one of her jobs, she heads to Barcelona to rescue a man who seems to be hostaged. Aaron (Channing Tatum) and other coverts help Mallory complete the task. In what seems to be the end of that job, Mallory gets dispatched to Dublin only to find out that the man she has helped escape is now dead. She realizes she is getting double crossed by the same people who have hired her. Motivated by revenge and equipped with martial arts athleticism, Mallory hunts down the man who has set her up and manages to kill a few along the way.

Steven Soderbergh's "Haywire" has the typical set-up for a double-crossing film. Most of the plot line feels ludicrous as the heroine manages to escape all kinds of security- Interpol, the local police and border lines. Considering she is being labelled a terrorist in order to arrest, she single-handedly avoids all chances at getting caught.

The joy of the movie lies right there. Designed by spectacular martial arts fighting sequences (and I'm assuming no stunt double was used), the bad ass no non-sense nature of Gina Carano is highly enigmatic. She pulls you in at first glance. I heard that her voice has been altered to sound deeper but her presence itself is powerfully intense. She glues you in from the moment you see her and you can't take your eyes off until the end credits. Movies like such succeed because of its main character. And considering this is a debut for the former martial arts champion, it's a rock-solid introduction.

"Haywire" never wants to be an important film. It knows its genre well and more importantly, it knows its audience. Hence, with the brilliance of Soderbergh's direction, the film delivers very well. Most people might be turned off by the lack of dialogue but the way Carano moves and fights her opponent, it's already a mouthful. I especially appreciate how Soderbergh uses color as an added effect to an already suspenseful moment. In the film's climax where most of the characters come face to face at Mallory's home, Soderbergh dilutes the scene in a chilling dark blue. He eliminates most of the sound and is left with footsteps and minor thumps. That scene itself is a major triumph for the film. You know what's coming and you know where the players are situated, and when the truth about the events are revealed, Soderbergh delivers an electrifying and violent climax.

The film also has an excellent array of supporting players in Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton, Channing Tatum and Michael Angarano. These are talented individuals that helped each scene arrive more intensely. others should take pointers on how this film was perfectly edited. There were no fillers, leaving you pumped from start to finish. It's well-acted, well-directed and well-executed. "Haywire" is a first-rate action thriller.

**** (4 Stars)