safehouseHome for this year’s action footage. Everything you want in a pedal down, full speed ahead thriller can be found in this one.

Safe House is home for this year’s action footage. Everything you want in a pedal down, full speed ahead thriller can be found in this one. Tight edits, breakneck speed car chases, government espionage, spies, and testosterone fueled characters make for one edge of your seat ride. Even the few plot holes and convenient story arcs seem unnoticeable.

Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is an up and coming CIA agent trying to break into the big leagues. He oversees a safe house that has seen very little if any action. When the elusive and well-known fugitive Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) is brought to the house for questioning everyone is on full alert. Many want Tobin dead and when they attack the safe house Weston has to flee with Tobin. They both end up on the run and begin to wonder who they can actually trust.

This film has a lot of character depth when you scratch away all the blood and bullets. Frost is cunning and calculating. It isn’t long before he has Weston doubting everything and everyone. Matt is a red white and blue, play-by-the-rules agent who tries to do it by the book. This pairing of personalities makes for great dialogue and thought-provoking scenarios. Even the viewer will start second guessing who is really good and bad.

Washington shines in these gritty roles with a dark stare and soulless expression. Then he will catch you off guard with that trademark smile. He doesn’t allow the action to steal the scenes from him but instead he governs each frame. Reynolds holds his own nicely and brings a good balance. He is solid and tough and doesn’t back down from a confrontation. These are both solid casting choices. They are supported fairly well by Vera Farmiga and Brendan Gleeson as fellow CIA agents trying to bring Frost to justice. I am a huge fan of Vera and wish she had a meatier role in this one.

The only issue would be to dissect the story line piece by piece. The backdrop of the CIA and rouge agents is certainly a well tapped source. This one doesn’t spend too much time fleshing out its plot and that might be because they wouldn’t know how. There are moments that if you paused to think about them could leave you a bit confused. But luckily the director and editor don’t allow for too many beats between the action shots. Same way you don’t have time to think about the bolts holding the roller coaster together. It is all over before you get the chance. All you remember is the exciting ride.

Safe House is rated R for strong violence throughout and some language. Many will be grateful to find that the language in this is very mild for an R rated action flick. I recall maybe one or two PG-13 worthy expletives and not many more. There is a brief seductive scene at the beginning but nothing crude.  The R rating is squarely due to the violence. And it comes often and in many forms. Gun play, fist fights, knife fights, glass fights, car fights; if they can kill you with it they use it here. Lots of blood and stone cold antics. If you want a solid action piece with top notch acting then this is hard to beat. If you can’t get past the “all governments are bad” scenarios then you may stumble a bit. It reminds me of the line from a song by Billy Dean, “There ain't no good guys, there ain't no bad guys. There's only you and me and we just disagree.” I give it 4 out of 5 fake passports. Certainly a must see for the genre fans.

 Review copyright 2012 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.