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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Safe House (2012)

There are lots of things I can safely say I don't understand, that I am apparently out of step with. The rest of the planet can see something I can't when it comes to Denzel Washington, I guess. Every review of every film he ever appears in seems to include a faultless turn from him. On a couple of occasions I may be even be tempted to agree, but really, given all of this unbridled fawning, is it just me that thinks that Washington makes more than his fair share of average or below average movies? Most of his efforts are not too dissimilar to this. He does like a thriller, so much so that he EP's (Executively Produces) this time around.

Since Cry Freedom and then Malcolm X, Washington has become something of a marker for the African American made good. He is an example of what can be achieved in the world of the oppressive white man. This may have passed for a reason amongst the stupidest examples of the American public, before the country got itself its first black president, but it doesn't wash now.

Regardless why Washington is even in a position to make this film, it still begs the question as to why it was even made. Government agents, undercover shenanigans, car chases, countless nameless, faceless enemies and reality defying survival are the order of the day, again.

We've surely all been here before too often for Washington to palm off another one these? It's Bourne, it's Bond and everything in-between. If you're a fan of action flicks, there is nothing here you haven't seen at least a hundred times before. This is popcorn cinema at its most basic. Turn off your brain, sit down and chill out with a Big Gulp. Seriously, this wouldn't be so awful (and the film, standing alone, is not so bad) if its delivery wasn't so predictable, so bland and so tired.

The story of Tobin Frost (Washington) is not a pedestrian one. Off the reservation for nine years, he is believed to be a rogue CIA agent (the fact there is no actual evidence to substantiate this is important, so you should really be paying attention at the time, or if that is too tiresome, have at least seen an action film with Matt Damon in it) that walks into the American Consulate in South Africa and is taken to a safe house for 'questioning'. The 'Housekeeper' is none other than Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds), a young CIA agent, who is charged with the responsibility of keeping Frost out of harms way when the safe house is raided by those same nameless, faceless enemies that I referred to earlier.

What follows is a very concerted effort by the baddies to capture Frost and Weston's very real attempts to stop them. There is a little conversation in the form of chit-chat banter, the requisite dick-swinging and big guns for the stars to hold and wave menacingly.

I won't go into details, as there really is no need, suffice to say that the acting is up to standard for the demands of its audience. There is little to take from the experience as audiences leave apart from a slight feeling of lightness in the wallet. Washington fans will be happy, but then they have never aimed too high in the past dozen or so years anyway, but the rest of the onlookers will feel like they have been here before, which in all but name, they have.


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