safeA Memory Situation
Stars: Jason Statham, Catherine Chan, Reggie Lee, Robert John Burke, James Hong, Chris Sarandon and Joseph Sikara
Director/Scriptwriter: Boaz Yakin
Rating: R for language, violence and themed material
Running Length: 97 minutes
Just when you were beginning to think Jason Statham wasn't going to come out with a spring movie action film, comes Safe, and don't worry about this summer, he is in The Expendables 2, also.  With a nod to Jean Reno and Natalie Portman in The Professional, Safe concerns keeping a Chinese girl, Mei (newcomer Catherine Chan) safe from Russian mobsters, Chinese mobsters, questionable police and just about anyone else who gets wind of the $30,000,000 she is supposed to know about.
This story has Statham (Luke) as a former special forces cop and now a cage fighter, coming home to find his wife dead and Russian mobsters waiting for him. They decide to let him live, but keep nearby and kill anyone close to him. In other words, don't stand next to him on the street, or else…  Luke actually contemplates suicide until he rescues a young Chinese girl from Chinese thugs, then the same Russian mobsters, and then the police department where he was once a member. What is going on here?  Mei has a phenomenal memory (savant) and they use her to memorize money shipments so there is no paper work or computer trail. The poor kid goes from one gang to another while Luke has one rescue after another, gets beat up on a regular basis, shoots enough people to populate a small city and when the camera lands on his face---there are minor scratches that disappear. (Reminds me of Jim Caviezel in Person of Interest.) No one bothers to hid Mei’s appearance (long hair, dress and sweater) when she is wanted and out in public. No slacks? Cap to hide the hair?  This film must have been shot on a smaller budget because the action sequences are in rooms and only 2-3 short car chases, too. 
Jason Statham can act, but doesn't have to in these films. The emoting comes with a bit of sadness when he looks at Mei. She is expressionless throughout. The villains include Reggie Lee as Mei’s surrogate “father” in America and the wonderful James Hong as Lee’s father, the head of their syndicate. The subtitles convey enough to provide a bit of humor.  No one smiles or frowns, just looks dead in the water. Trust is a word in a dictionary and the word “corruption” is commonplace. The price for anything goes up from thousands to hundreds of thousands to millions. Just when you think Luke tracks down the boss, there is another boss and yet another. The line of command is enormous.
Such is Safe, with a pace that will satisfy martial arts fans until Statham’s next film comes along. Someday, the guy will choose a straight dramatic role and stun his fans. Someday.
Three Tocks
Copyright 2012 Marie Asner