(Daniel Espinosa, 2012)
Reviewed by Dave Lancaster
Summary: Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds add grit to CIA mindgames thriller 'Safe House' that suffers from plot point weaknesses
'Safe House' is a good film but you can't help feeling it should've been an excellent one. Especially given Denzel Washington in the lead role, this should've been up there with the stylistically similar 'Training Day'.
Washington stars as Tobin Frost, an intelligence officer gone rogue. He knows more secrets than the News of the World and he's getting an itch to spill. Frost ends up at a safe house in Cape Town, South Africa (great location) which is being looked after by a rookie - Ryan Reynolds as Matt Weston.
'Safe House' does well to establish what is probably a reality: guys like Matt Weston sit around a lot and see very little action, and guys like Tobin Frost have seen so much that it numbs them. Throwing them together after the safe house is compromised makes for an interesting premise which is strung together well with average car chases and surprisingly brutal close-quarters confrontations.
All the usual conspiracy and double-crossing guff is here too, getting in the way of an interesting dynamic between the two leads, particularly in Washington's case. He's brilliant at playing these driven men who are so cold and calculating that they may actually be sociopaths.
This juice is watered down with distractions - Weston's forgettable love interest, Sam Shepard wasted as a CIA chief, Brendan Gleeson rehasing his 'Green Zone' performance and Vera Farmiga wasted again in another on-the-phone role (ala 'Source Code'). Despite hints at trying otherwise, 'Safe House' plays it too safe.
Read our transcript from the UK press conference (a Q&A with Denzel washington and the film's director) HERE and watch the original theatrical trailer for 'Safe House' HERE.
Other film news
Oscar winning film Ang Lee has just backed out from directing his first television show - a TV pilot for the FX network called 'Tyrant'.
The stars were shining a little dimmer at this year's Cannes Film Festival after a massive jewellery theft robbed the celebs of their jewels.
Britain's premiere film lot Pinewood Studios, the home to James Bond and Harry Potter, has lost a Â£200m planning permission bid for a Hollywood-style expansion across 100 acres of green belt land.
The last time Robert Downey Jr and Scarlett Johansson appeared in a film together it was a massive studio production that went on to break box office records. Now the 'Avengers Assemble' stars are reteaming for an independent feature.
Oscar winning actress Angelina Jolie has undergone a double mastectomy after genetic tests revealed that she held a high risk of developing breast cancer.
'TV Burp' star Harry Hill's film debut has started shooting with himself in the lead and Matt Lucas as his twin brother alongside Sheridan Smith, 'Inbetweeners' star Simon Bird and Oscar winners Jim Broadbent and veteran actress Julie Walters.
'Jurassic Park 4' was due to begin production on June 24th for a release date almost exactly a year later, but studio Universal has pushed it back.
When it comes to optical effects in the movies, few have had a career as iconic as Ray Harryhausen, the special effects pioneer who recently died at 92.
The bank holiday weekend saw not one but two tentpole franchises get the sequel green lights from their studios: 'Men in Black 4' and 'Mission Impossible 5' are on the cards at Sony and Paramount.
In somewhat unexpected casting news, TV star Kelsey Grammer (best known as classy radio psychologist Dr Frasier Crane from 'Frasier' and 'Cheers'), has been cast as the lead villain in 'Transformers 4'.
First came the news that Michael Fassbender was onboard, and now it's been confirmed that Oscar winner Natalie Portman will be joining him for a new film version of 'MacBeth'.
Marvel/Disney knew they were on to a winner with the third film in the 'Iron Man' franchise but the Robert Downey Jr headliner has exceeded numerous box office estimates by beating 'Avengers Assemble' in its opening weekend figures.
20th Century Fox has finally secured the film rights to the Frank Loesser musical 'Guys and Dolls' after years in legal hell, and now the studio are hoping to bag Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt for the lead roles.
Cult sports comedy 'Dodgeball' is getting the sequel treatment, with original star Ben Stiller's production company onboard alongside distributor 20th Century Fox.
Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon and her husband Jim Toth were arrested and jailed in the early hours of Friday morning, it was confirmed recently.
The official list of nominations for the 2013 Cannes Film Festival have been revealed with a complete lack of British filmmakers/films in the running for the major awards of The Grand Prize and Un Certain Regard honours.
When Disney attended CinemaCon, the news that all the fans and industry types wanted to know about was what was happening with their newly acquired LucasFilm properties - namely the 'Star Wars' franchise.
Bestselling author Stephen King has stated that heâd be "happy" if Warner's planned film prequel to his 1977 horror novel 'The Shining' "didnât happen".
Check out the full list of winners from the 2013 MTV Movie Awards here:
Christopher Nolan's latest film 'Interstellar' has already confirmed that Matthew McCOnaughey will take the male lead and now it looks like 'The Dark Knight Rises' actress Anne Hathaway will reunite with Nolan as well.