MOVIE: Safe House (2012)

Aside from the fact I’ve now decided Ryan Reynolds is the most boringest actor OF ALL TIME, I actually enjoyed this thriller, which was my Pay-Per-View pick at a recent librarian conference (my first night in a hotel for a conference, I always iron all my clothes while eating room service and watching a PPV movie — it’s a tradition).  The story’s about two CIA agents — a n00b, Matt Weston (Reynolds), and a old-timer-gone-rogue, Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) — who begin as guard and prisoner and end as hesitant partners at work against a force of corruption on the inside.

As the movie opens, Weston is frustrated with his stale career at the CIA.  His assignment has been to sit on a safe house in a foreign country (I forget where, but it isn’t important), waiting around for someone to need it.  Nobody ever does, though, so in his off-hours, he’s cultivated a personal life — engaged to a beautiful woman who has no idea what he really does for a living.  (And yep, THAT’S coming back to bite him in the ass later in the film, believe you me.  Fellas, why do you insist on lying to your ladies about your secret agent jobs?  It just never ends well.  Never ever ever.  Ever.  Or ever.)

Matt’s life is about to get a lot more exciting, though.  Infamous agent Tobin Frost has just turned himself into the CIA, claiming he’s in possession of some super-seekrit data (the movie’s MacGuffin — most spy flicks gotta have one) that a group of bad guys would kill for.  To protect him (while also torturing him for information — ah, the irony of the US government!), the CIA takes him to the closest safe house — Matt’s.  And though Matt’s initially treated like a servant by the agents guarding Frost, who think of him as a rookie not ready to take on anything major, it’s not long before Weston finds himself on the run with Tobin, trying to hold onto him as a prisoner while also keeping them both from being killed by the aforementioned group of bad guys.

Cue chase scenes.  About ten thousand of them.

From there, the story takes a pretty predictable path.  If you’ve ever seen a Hollywood movie — especially one starring Denzel Washington — then you know how this is going to end.  The protagonists start out as enemies, Weston’s youthful idealism keeping him from believing Frost’s story of massive government corruption.  But as the evidence piles up (along with the bodies), that idealism is replaced by savvy grown-up cynicism, Weston ultimately revealing himself to be a talented agent with great instincts for the job.  Frost and Weston end up working together to solve the mystery at hand, and, you know, tidy little ending, blah blah blah.

There’s nothing in this film you haven’t seen a hundred times before, in other words, but what makes it entertaining is — well, hell, I don’t know.  Something.  Something other than Ryan Reynolds who, MY GOD, is just the blandest person alive.  Washington does what he always does, though, which is something I happen to like, so he’s fun to watch.  And the rest of the cast is strong as well — Brendan Gleeson, Sam Shepard (mrrrowl!) and good ol’ ex-Boyfriend Liam Cunningham, who is always a pleasure.

All in all, well worth a rental.

[Prequeue at Netflix]

Genre:  Action, Spy
Cast:  Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson, Sam Shepard, Robert Patrick, Liam Cunningham

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4 Responses to “MOVIE: Safe House (2012)”

  1. Liz Says:

    YES! I saw RR do an interview about this movie, and he sounded enthusiastic about it. But it did sound kind of “run of the mill” to me. Not bad, but not great – we have a saying: adequate for its needs.

    Besides, I’m still a bit peeved that he got chosen to play “Green Lantern” – especially after that fan created the “faux-trailer” with Nathan Fillion playing the part!

  2. alisaj29 Says:

    I remember this movie, but I can’ t remember if I liked it or not. I just remember that it was in France, and Ryan’s apt being bugged, and something about a vase full of cocaine. Or maybe that was another spy movie, I’m not sure. But I guess that answers the question of whether or not I liked this movie.

    • megwood Says:

      Wrong movie for sure! It’s definitely not set in France, has nothing to do with cocaine in a vase, and Ryan’s apartment isn’t bugged! Though, whatever movie you’re describing sounds kinda good, so if you think of it, let me know! 😉

      • alisaj29 Says:

        I had to watch the Safe House trailer to remember who was in the movie I was thinking of. It’s “From Paris with Love” it has John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. I just watched the trailer It should deff go on your list of Great, Bad Movies.

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