A Safe Bet

Denzel Washington is the man. Even though he plays the same character in almost every movie, I love it and I want to see him play it for the rest of his life. I’m sure fans everywhere share my sentiment, because why else would people cast Denzel as the same character in every movie? We love it! That’s the pull of this movie. Fans know going into the film that even if the movie sucks, they will at least enjoy watching Denzel act on the big screen. The casting directors could have stopped there, but they decided to put him alongside another popular actor, Ryan Reynolds. I really like Reynolds and even though Green Lantern was one of the worst superhero movies I’ve ever seen, Reynolds made it watchable. He has a great movie personality. He usually plays a likable character who has a good sense of humor. On top of that, Reynolds is a good looking guy, which might have pulled in decent female audience.

If I had to rate the people who made the cast, I’d give them 5 out of 5 cups, because they pulled in a big audience based on Denzel and Reynolds alone. But could Safe House live up to its cast?

Reynolds’ character, Matt Weston, works for the CIA and heads up a safe house. Despite the excitement implied by a job with the CIA, Weston sits at the safe house and throws a ball off the wall to entertain himself a la Steve McQueen in The Great Escape.

As fate would have it, the government captures Tobin Frost (Denzel) and brings him to Weston’s safe house. Frost used to work for the CIA, but went rogue and now possesses vital information. Frost endures some harsh interrogation until people looking for Frost breach the safe house. Weston and Frost escape the safe house, but their problems are far from over. Frost tries to escape Weston’s custody, Weston tries to protect him. Meanwhile, both face an unknown enemy who will stop at nothing to obtain the information Frost possesses.

It was interesting to see Reynolds in this role. In his movies, he usually delivers humorous lines to offset the tension. Reynolds never said anything sarcastic, and remained serious throughout the movie. He also deviated from that cocky, confident character he usually plays. Reynolds portrays an inexperienced field op forced into a life-threatening situation. He shows his fear and inexperience. As the movie progresses, Weston evolves and Reynolds makes a great transition from an inexperienced field op to a more confident CIA agent.

The cool part of this movie is as Weston evolves, he slowly gains the respect of Frost. As a result, Denzel’s character also evolves. It all comes together very well.

I could describe Denzel’s performance in a sentence. Denzel is Denzel. Everything people have come to expect from the actor, Denzel brings to the table in Safe House.

The story is solid and the action kept me on the edge of my seat. Just when I thought I had a minute to take a breath, the action ensued.

The supporting actors are also excellent with Brendan Gleeson (Harry Potter) and Vera Farmiga (The Departed).

I know I only talked about the actors, but without this particular cast, the movie would have been average. Seeing the dynamic duo of Denzel and Reynolds just made the movie better. It reminded me of Unstoppable when Denzel teamed up with Chris Pine (Star Trek). The duo gelled so well and turned an uninteresting runaway train story into a thrilling movie.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Safe House feeds off the strength of Denzel and Reynolds, and it provides enough action to keep the audience on its toes. It’s not the best Denzel movie, but it’s worth the watch.

I’ll give Safe House 3.5 out of 5 cups.


As of March 1, Safe House made a domestic total of approximately $101 million versus a production budget of $85 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

Safe House has a rating of 53% at Rotten Tomatoes while users at the Internet Movie Database gave it 7.1 out of 10 stars.

To see the movie trailer for Safe House, click here.

About dukemich

Samuel L. Jackson
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