DVD Review: Jason Statham in Safe

Those that question Jason Statham's place in the Expendables line-up, alongside action legends: Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren and Arnold Schwarzenegger, simply need to watch Safe to be convinced that he is deserving of a place. Boaz Yakin's high-octane thriller, Safe reaffirms Statham's position as one of the finest working action stars today.

Mei (Catherine Chan), a highly intelligent young girl finds herself kidnapped by Chinese triads and forced to work as a counter. However, a ferocious battle between the Triads, Russian mafia and corrupt New York police detectives soon ensues - each seeking a priceless numerical code, memorised by Mei. Down on his luck cage fighter, Luke Wright (Statham) falls right in the centre of this ensuing war, proving to be Mei's only hope for survival.

Yakin's script is ambitious, with the narrative bringing in several key antagonists - the Russian Mafia, the Chinese Triads and the corrupt NYPD. Time is allowed for each group to have a fully established back-story, making the connections between the three and Statham's character evident. Yakin has a clear passion for the action film, with Safe boasting an array of New York based set pieces from blistering casino shootouts and subway fights to taut chases through busy freeways - each allowing for a highly enjoyable blast of controlled chaos and frenzy.

The all out action and gritty New York setting feel like it could be something from an eighties made Charles Bronson or Chuck Norris vehicle for The Cannon Group, with Safe faithfully paying homage to the genre. Alongside Yakin's controlled direction, Safe also comes equip with fast paced, tense editing from Frederic Thoraval which gives the film a absorbing and energetic feel.

Jason Statham is given the opportunity to give a more emotionally heavy performance after the opening sees his wife murdered by the Russian Mafia. Statham shows that he can be truly convincing at showing a vulnerable side as he is when jamming a knife in a gangsters throat. This emotional back-story helps connect the viewer with Statham's ailing former cage-fighter, with Safe boasting Statham's best performance yet.

Safe also takes time to establish the unconventional relationship between Statham's Luke Wright and Catherine Chan's Mei - further enhancing the emotional backbone of Safe's narrative. Chan is completely likeable as the gutsy young counter and one cannot help but emphasise with her character. Cult stars Chris Sarandon and James Hong turn up for scene-stealing supporting roles, with Hong in particular, being a joy to watch as he chews through the scenery.

Safe is a highly enjoyable, well-crafted action spectacular that proves to be the finest Jason Statham vehicle to date. Whilst paying homage to the classic action thrillers of the eighties - Safe manages to boast lots of edgy modern action and a gripping performance from Statham.

You can buy Safe from Amazon UK.

Rating: 4/5

Released: 10/09/2012
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