Apr. 25, 2012 - Issue #862: The Real Deal
To say Mei (Catherine Chan) is a whiz with numbers is an understatement. The 11-year-old has a photographic memory capable of memorizing lengthy, complex figures in the blink of an eye. Her talents quickly make her the target of a group of underhanded business men, who take her from her home in China to the grimy streets of New York City to essentially become a walking bookkeeper to safeguard the dealings of her "father" Chang (Reggie Lee).
Soon, Mei is given a series of numbers that unlocks something extremely valuable, which is also of interest to some cut-throat Russian mobsters. The same mobsters are also after Luke Wright (Jason Statham), a down-on-his-luck ex-agent-turned-cage-fighter who botches a fixed match, with his wife murdered as payment. Luke and Mei's worlds collide when he's about to take his life in the subway and sees her fleeing from the Russians. Throw a corrupt NYPD captain (Robert John Burke) into the mix, who's also after the code, and it's a recipe for a whole lot of car-chasing, guns-blazing destruction.
Statham goes from pitiful to the quintessential suave, devil-may-care action hero who has no qualms with putting himself in the middle of chaos, which feeds the film's fast-paced intensity. Chan, who makes her debut in the film, is thrown into a challenging role for such a green actress, and it shows. Granted, she's only a kid, and does have some moments of decent acting, but at times, she's unconvincing and sounds scripted.
The film can never be accused of being boring, as it launches right into the action from the get-go and moves at a lighting-fast pace, but it's far from anything new for the genre. Someone wants something from someone else, that greed drives them to do unspeakable things and forget the people that get in the way in the process. When it's all said and done, Safe will undeniably quench the thirst of anyone craving a good dose of gunfire and car chases, but leaves something to be desired in terms of substance and creativity.
Directed by Boaz Yakin
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