Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) is a CIA agent that has gone rogue, because of trading intel with other agencies. While on a mission in Cape Town, South Africa, he's targeted by a pair of mercenaries who are after a chip in his possession. To elude being captured, he surrenders at a U.S. embassy and is soon transferred to a safe house watched over by Matthew Weston (Ryan Reynolds). However, the safe house is ambushed by the mercenaries after Frost, and the duo are on the run to stay alive. Now how many times have we heard of a plot like that before, huh?
Director Daniel Espinosa never settles on an original style of any form throughout the film. The only thought I had running through my mind is that it felt like Tony Scott directed this film, because his style is ever so similar to the way Espinosa shoots the film. The shaky handheld camera angles and choppily edited action sequences got on my nerves quick, but I really hated how Espinosa started nearly every action sequence by making you jump from a gunshot coming from out of nowhere. If a director uses the same technique to start every action sequence in his film, then you know you've got a problem with your film. Despite that gripe though, some of the action was entertaining, but the action in the second half feels extremely weak compared to the first.
It took only one week to realize that we're still in the month of February for generic movies, and "Safe House" relishes in that category. Denzel Washington needs to find a new agent, because I'm starting to get a little sick of him starring in films where his acting is way too good for the movie itself. The only times where that has worked was when he worked with Tony Scott on "The Taking of Pelham 123" and "Unstoppable." Otherwise, "Safe House" is a cliche-filled, unoriginal CIA thriller that delivers solid enough performances that prevent this film from being the disaster it should have been.
Final Grade: C
Review of "Safe House" on Youtube