This is the second time in a year I've gone to a movie just because a friend asked me to join them. The first one, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, turned out great. Not a movie I would EVER have chosen to see in the theater, but during a particularly hot day last summer, it was just right. This time, it was the fact that it was just the two of us in the theater (a great big theater at a 5pm showing, particularly odd), so we got to talk through it, which is good because there are quite a few places Safe goes off the rails.
The movie starts with Jason Statham cage fighting and nearly killing a guy. However, he was supposed to take a dive for the Russian mobsters he was working for. In an impressively cruel form of punishment, they kill his wife and then promise to kill ANYONE he associates with, talks to, etc. So he has become a loaner, a really alone loner. Meanwhile, in China, a genius little girl, Mei, has been recognized for her photographic memory, kidnapped and brought to the US to manage the Chinese mobs' books. Mei is given a really long number to memorize, but that makes her a pawn in a triangle of power - the Chinese mob, the Russian mob, and the dirty cops who keep everything going. She manages to escape one day, and sees Statham about to jump off the subway platform. Their eye contact stops him jumping and he agrees to protect her for saving his life. He figures out what the number means and needs to find it to keep her safe. The rest of the story is too convoluted and complicated, but basically, as expected Statham's back story is really bad ass, and and he has lots of enemies for various reasons.
Yes, the experience of seeing this movie was terrific - a private screening is always fun. But the movie itself was original and complicated enough that it was fun to keep watching. It was fairly short, which is good for a movie with a basic, if convoluted plot. Statham is good and the bad guys are all good. James Hong (Tia Carrere's dad from Wayne's World 2) is the head of the Chinese mob and is scary. Robert John Burke (former Priest on "Rescue Me") is the head of the bad cop regime. Often in movies with lots of supporting actors stepping up to play more leading roles it can be hard to keep them straight or care much about them, but this group of veteran character actors does a great job supporting Statham and Mei - played by a totally not annoying child actress, Catherine Chan.