Underrated Gem: Safe (2012)

When Safe was released in 2012 I remember coming out of the cinema and we were all buzzing with excitement; it felt like a shot of adrenaline and at various points the audience had cheered and clapped with excitement. Then I found out that many people didn’t like it for some crazy reason.

The biggest complaint I heard was the ending; action fans wanted to see Statham’s character Luke Wright face off against the film’s antagonist but the fight is cut short when the young girl he is protecting Mei shoots the villain dead. Personally I loved that as it didn’t go the expected path and wasn’t afraid to try something a little different.

The first 10 minutes are a little confusing but expertly crafted as we are introduced to Luke, Mei and all the various players who will take part in this tale.

The plot is about Luke Wright (Jason Statham) who is a two-bit cage fighter, until the day he throws a fixed match. In retaliation, the Russian mob murders his family and destroys his life. Though alone and haunted by grief, Luke springs into action to save a Chinese girl (Catherine Chan) from the same gangsters who killed his family — and lands in the middle of a high-stakes war. The girl is no ordinary child; she’s a math prodigy who holds in her head a numerical code for which various factions are ready to kill.

Before seeing the movie I had very little expectations thinking it would be reminiscent of the Bruce Willis film Mercury Rising which had a similar story but thankfully Safe was superior in every way.

There is a kinetic action to this movie with some incredible fight scenes as Luke desperately fights his way through legions of goons to protect Mei from the criminals. Mei is thankfully immediately appealing and never the annoying screaming child she potentially could have been so we are rooting for her to straight away.

It is a little slow to get going but I absolutely love the build-up as it establishes the characters and Statham gives one of his better performances as the tortured Luke.

Apparently Statham kills 30 people in this movie which is no surprise as the bodycount is indeed impressive. There are so many great action scenes that it’s hard to pick a favourite but I think the restaurant fight and the battle on the subway are definite highlights.

The music score feels like it is lifted straight from a 70’s thriller working perfectly during the action sequences. Safe feels like a throwback to these kinds of films with a modern twist and although it may confuse some I thought the structure of the narrative style gave us something unique.

If you’re one of the people that didn’t like Safe the first time around I urge you to give it a reappraisal as it remains one of my absolute favourite Jason Statham movies.