Safe Boaz Yakin

Safe Boaz Yakin
Not to be mistaken for the deliberately paced, thoughtfully constructed (debatably) AIDS allegory of the same name directed by Todd Haynes, this Safe is decidedly less artistic and works as an ersatz Transporter 4. It reminds us all that even when your family has been murdered and organized criminals are hunting you relentlessly, killing everyone you befriend, it's still important to dole out sarcastic bon mots and look as ruggedly handsome as possible.

Such is the plight of the world-wearied Jason Statham, down in the dumps after Russian mobsters have made ruining his life a top priority. Only, when he's at his lowest, he finds a young Chinese girl (Mei) in need who, incidentally, is struggling with the same ubiquitous mobsters that have exploited her eidetic memory to store a bunch of safe codes.

Statham's response: protect the girl and brutally, graphically murder Russian mobsters before her eyes, which doesn't seem to faze her, while avoiding corrupt NYC cops that like to say, "Chink" a lot. And, again, he does all of this while delivering an endless array of one-liners, such as, "I've been in restaurants all night and all I got served was lead." Zing!

Ostensibly, this is a generic male underdog vengeance story that relies on imperilled children to heighten the stakes of a battle that is, at best, laughable. Yakin is somewhat at ease with the action genre, taking an R-rated approach, in contrast to the cheesy script he wrote for Prince of Persia, but he isn't doing anything we haven't already seen a hundred times over.

While the overall irreverence of this throwaway actioner is indirectly admirable, if only to watch the reactions to a scene where cops joke about not being able to point out Mei in a crowd of children because they, "all look the same," it's also weirdly standard for the genre nowadays.

Aside from the blasé glee of watching Statham beat the crap out of people, there's really no reason to go out of your way to watch a film destined for "2 for $20" racks at Wal-Mart. (Alliance)