THE PITCH: Luke Wright (Jason Statham) a cop turned MMA fighter is down on his luck, especially after pissing off the Russian mob. With no reasons left to live, he finds purpose in protecting 11-year old Mei (Catherine Chan) who is trying to evade the Chinese and Russian mobs as well as the crooked New York Police Department. Mei has a gift for numbers and has memorized a number that everybody wants. So it is up to Wright to keep her, uh ... Safe.
MONEY SHOT: Wright makes his way to a posh restaurant, a popular Russian mob hangout, to get information about the important numbers Mei has memorized. After seeing a heavy at the bar, he says to him in Russian, "This is never easy." The fellow turns slightly and replies, "What is?" To which Wright says, "Killing." Within seconds he takes out a hefty number of maffioso using everything from a glass to a fork to rack up the kills.
BEST LINE: After killing a couple of Russians in a close quarter fight on board a subway train, Wright tells the other passengers, "Don't lose sleep, he had it coming."
WATER BORING: Not shy on bigotry, the warring groups have no problem hashing slurs to one another. Russian mob boss Emile Docheski (Sandor Tecsy) tries to coax the code from Mei, but she refuses to give him what he wants. Now frustrated he yells, "I'm going to use one of those tortures your [Chinese] family is so famous for."
ACT OF CONTRITION: Because Wright's actions made the mob lose millions, they devise an ingenious way to torture him. This "method" leaves him seeking redemption for all the things he's done wrong. Even when he does a good deed by offering up his sneakers to a homeless man who desperately needs better footware, there is a price to pay. What that torturous device is a spoiler so I can't say. But if you want to know scroll to the bottom of the review to find out.
HIT LIST: Number of times Wright gets punched, 18. Number of people Wright kills, I lost count after 40.
BOTTOM LINE: So here we have it, another one-note Jason Statham movie. There's no tricks, no subterfuge and no heat, just Statham doing what he does best issuing his unique style of on-the-go justice to whomever he villain du jour may be. And lets face it, he's had a fair run of this kind of fast-paced, one-man kill squad action in his repertoire. He's taken down a South American assassin and his cronies in Crank, The Italian mob in the Transporter 2 and he seems to have a special vendetta against corrupt officials as we saw in Death Race. Seriously, the list goes on and on. But now he takes on three different factions who are in an all out war to get to him and his young charge and as always, its just too fantastical to take seriously. Instead, you just ignore the uninspired banter from the so-so script, try not to speculate on the end game because there is no plot to adhere to and simply enjoy the intense fighting and over-the-top carnage as the Russians, the Chinese an the NYPD lay waste to New York City.
This is yet another mindless Statham vehicle, so expect a vulnerable central character, a little bit of deception (you never know Statham's past until after he's beaten or killed at least 10 people), and of course a damsel in distress whom someone has kidnapped or out to kill. If you're looking for that weekend movie that has nonstop action and you don't require any sense of form, method or reason, Safe is a safe bet.
DA SPOILER I MENTIONED: Rollover the text from here Ok, so the Russian mob decide to torture Wright until he kills himself. They murder his wife and if he gets close to anyone, no matter how insignificant the relation: a smile, a kind word or more, the mob will kill that person. So when Wright who is spending the night at a homeless shelter gives the man his shoes, in the morning the shoes are gone and the unfortunate guy has had his neck slit sometime in the night. to here.
I can see Rushdie's stuff adapting well. Lots of plot to play with.