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Film review, SAFE HOUSE from Built For Speed

Safe House, which stars Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, is an insanely loud, frantic confusing spy thriller that plays like a caffeine overdosed Enemy of the State.

Denzel Washington is tough, mysterious veteran spy Tobin Frost who’s gone rogue and allegedly sold agency secrets to the highest bidder. Having surrendered in South Africa and looking to trade some vital intel, he narrowly avoids assassination from a hit squad thanks to junior agent Ryan Reynolds.  The two disparate characters go on the run distrusting each other and still unsure of who is trying to kill them. By the end of the film we’re not too sure either as the out of control wobble cam and feverish editing make it hard to know what the hell is going on.

Safe House has some of that Jason Bourne energy and intensity as it tears from one violent set piece to another.  In the welter of action, though, the film fails to make sufficient use of the odd couple scenario and doesn’t establish an interesting connection between Washington and Reynolds.

Despite this, Washington is, as always, a believable and commanding screen presence even if he spends much of the film with a smug “I’m gonna get” you look on his face.

Reynolds plays pretty much the same character he does in every film: the innocent, occasionally shirtless dope inadvertently thrust into a dangerous situation.  A name cast also includes Vera Farmiga and Brendan Gleeson as CIA agents.

A quality cast and serious tone can’t hide the fact that this film contains some very silly scenes such as Reynolds and Washington emerging from multiple car wrecks looking like they’ve just stepped out of a Hollywood day spa or Reynolds demolishing three cops with his hands literally tied behind his back.

Safe House is annoyingly incoherent and implausible at times but should satisfy action junkies.

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