Almost by stealth, Jason Statham has become one of the most dependable action stars of the last twenty years. None of his films have been huge box office blockbusters but every year he releases one or two action films that tend to be tight as a drum and absolutely play to his strengths. I occasionally wonder if had he been a star in the 80s, whether he’d be held in the same regard as Van Damme and Seagal, or even the more exalted action stars, Stallone and Schwarzenegger.
Out on May 4th, Safe could well be Statham’s best action vehicle yet. The plot is simple, a young Chinese girl with a photographic memory is forced by a Chinese gang in New York to memorise a code that contains the combination to a safe. Before she’s able to relay the code, she escapes the gang’s clutches and soon the Russian mafia and group of corrupt New York cops are after her too. However, none of these ruffians had counted on the presence of the city’s toughest ex-cop, Luke Wright, who after a chance encounter with the girl, makes it his job to protect her. Cue lots of bone-crunching fistfights, gunfights and one-liners.
Director Boaz Yakin, previously best known for writing 2010’s Prince Of Persia, and directing Denzel Washington gridiron drama, Remember The Titans, stages most of the action with panache, it’s only in the climactic gunfights does he falter. Luckily, the plot’s conclusion is swift and satisfying and Statham signs off with another witty one-liner. His many hardcore fans wouldn’t have it any other way.