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Movie Review


MPAA Rating: R for strong violence throughout, and for language.

Reviewed by: Julia Webster

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Action Crime Thriller
1 hr. 34 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
April 27, 2012 (wide—2,200+ theaters)
DVD: September 4, 2012
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Lionsgate

SUICIDE—What does the Bible say? Answer

If a Christian commits suicide, will they go to Heaven? Answer

rescuing a child in peril

math prodigy

homeless, destitute and isolated from society

organized crime world

bravery, courage, self-sacrifice

Featuring: Jason StathamLuke Wright
Chris Sarandon … Mayor Tremello
James Hong … Han Jiao
Anson Mount … Alex Rosen
Robert John Burke … Captain Wolf
Reggie Lee … Quan Chang
Catherine Chan … Mei
more »
Director: Boaz Yakin
Producer: Automatik Entertainment
Current Entertainment
more »
Distributor: Lionsgate

“She has the code. He is the key.”

I admit it; I’m a big Jason Statham fan. Since his first role in Guy Ritchie’s “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels,” I’ve been drawn to Statham’s muscular, eye-squinting, no-nonsense style. Perhaps that colored my impression of his latest outing: “Safe,” but I found the movie engrossing and action-packed, with a storyline that is believable, for this film genre.

Like his roles in “The Transporter” series, Statham is again cast as the bad-guy hero, helping a young girl escape the clutches of the Chinese mafia in New York City. The girl, Mei (played with precocious style by Catherine Chan), is a brilliant child with a photographic memory. She is being held captive for her numerical abilities, which are being used by a group of Chinese mafia (led by veteran actor James Hong) to extort the profits earned by various businesses operating within Chinatown.

Luke Wright (Statham) is an ex-cop, whose failed attempt at throwing a boxing match for a group of Russian gangsters has resulted in the severe injury of one of his opponents. Following punishment and threats by the Russians, Luke finds himself alone and broke.

Meanwhile, Mei is taken from the Chinese by the same group of Russians, who are attempting to claim a piece of the Chinese gang’s illegal operations by using information Mei has memorized.

Mei manages to escape the Russians and, as she flees, she encounters Luke in a public transit station. Luke, at that moment planning to jump in front of a train, locks eyes with Mei and, seeing her plight, abandons his thoughts of suicide. Feeling the sight of Mei has saved his life, he decides to help her escape from her captors.

Throw into the story some crooked cops and a crooked mayor (aptly portrayed by Chris Sarandon) and the pair finds themselves pursued for the same piece of information by three different sets of gangsters. As they run, Mei cannot tell if she can trust Luke any more than she could the cruel Chinese.

Finally, though, Mei begins to feel safe with Luke, knowing he has saved her. When she asks his reasons for protecting her, Luke tells her she has also saved him. (Though within the story finding salvation by another person is possible, salvation belongs only to God, who sits on His throne in heavenRevelation 7:10).

Director Boaz Yakin (“Prince of Persia” and “Remember the Titans”) manages to capture Luke’s gritty heroism and Mei’s street smarts and precociousness. The score, written by Mark Mothersbaugh, helps to create tension and excitement for the action sequences. At other times, the music tugs at the heart strings as Luke and Mei’s relationship grows.

Like all action films, “Safe” is filled with non-stop violence, lots of graphic shooting and other killings, harrowing chases, crashing cars, breaking glass, and tons of profanity.

Despite these drawbacks, I would recommend “Safe” to those who enjoy action films and aren’t bothered by the bad language and violence they contain. Certainly young children should not see this film for these same reasons, but most especially because the cruel threats made to Mei by the gangsters are graphic and frightening.

In reality, can anyone truly be safe in a world of corruption and greed? God’s word tells us that He is the tower to which we can run and be safe (Proverbs 18:10).

Violence: Heavy to Extreme / Profanity: Heavy to Extreme—“G-damn” (4), “For Christ’s sakes,” “Jesus,” “Jesus Christ,” f-words (13), s-words (11), “hell,” (9), *ss (7), SOB (5), d*mn (2), “d*cks” and “d*ck-heads” (2) / Sex/Nudity: Moderate—scene with hookers

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—“Safe” is a great action thriller, where Jason Statham’s character finds a purpose in his life that was spiraling down to suicide. It was almost like a redemption, by playing the guardian angel for a child prodigy from corrupt cops, Chinese Triads and Russian mafia. The movie has a great share of violence, car chases and senseless killings, but if you are a Jason Statham fan, it’s for you. From a Christian perspective there isn’t much to tell, other than this is a film for mature audience. I enjoyed the movie, it has great action, altruism, and it’s an edge of the seat thriller.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Cyril Thomas, age 32 (United Kingdom)
Positive—Not much to add to the reviewer’s comments; for fans of this genre, and especially of Statham, it was quite entertaining, except for the language. A small point: the requisite liberal dig was present, with a corrupt law enforcement agent boasting of how fear of terrorists was being used as an excuse to allow them to take advantage of their authority to enrich themselves illegally. An unexpected “positive” note: a minor character, when shown a small kindness by Statham’s character, says something like “Jesus will bless you, man,” with no hint of sarcasm or negative reaction, either from him or anyone else.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Jeremy, age 57 (USA)
Positive—I don’t normally watch Jason Statham actioners, but I did like this one. It was fun to watch a big tough guy put everything on the line to protect a little girl he didn’t know; even if he did have to punch, shoot and stab his way to do it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Kadie Jo, age 20 (USA)

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