By Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is just completing his first
year as a CIA operative. Assigned to Cape
Town, South Africa,
he is the housekeeper of a safe house should the CIA need to hide or
interrogate someone in that part of the world. But he has a girl friend he
wants to spend more time with, he’s bored, and he complains to his boss Agent
Barlow (Brendan Gleason) in Washington,
D.C. that he wants a new
assignment, a real assignment.
Then by some fluke a rogue agent who was last seen two years
before, Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington), appears and lots of people want him
dead. He meets with an agent from Britain’s MI6 spy agency to buy a
computer chip with damaging information and is assassinated right after. Frost
takes refuge in the U.S. Embassy and the people at CIA Headquarters in Langley are caught
completely off guard.
Although Frost tells the CIA interrogators there he will
tell them everything, they water board him anyway. But here come the bad guys
who kill this CIA team, headed by Robert Patrick of “Terminator II” fame. (I
can recognize him anywhere.) Matt has to
keep Frost safe but this proves impossible because Frost wants to save his own
life, release the information, and in a way, he cares about not killing
innocent people like Matt. When the CIA tells Matt to step down, he decides on
his own to recapture Frost.
From the moment I saw the trailers I knew that Denzel was
not the bad guy, and this film is so predictable that the only reason to watch
it is to see strong “manly men” performances. The fine talents of Vera Farmiga
are wasted in this film where she plays a wimpy CIA boss who is never
What makes “Safe House” different from other spy action
thrillers is the degree of violence; it is intense and incredible as is the
chaos that Matt, Tobin Frost and the bad guys cause in Cape Town.
The film is certainly a critique of the CIA and the
government’s torture policies but a two-hour series of
car crashes, explosions and gunfights cannot make up for a film that just is
not very good. All the character development is placed on the capable shoulders
of Denzel, but if you look, you’ve seen the facial expressions, knowing looks,
keen intelligence and quick moves before. The last time he was in South Africa
was as real life anti-apartheid hero Steve Biko in “Cry Freedom” (1987). I
liked that film so much more.
Ryan Reynolds was named by “People” magazine as 2010’s
Sexiest Man Alive. I will let others be the judge of this because I don’t think
looks or sex appeal makes him a great actor.
He’s an ok actor and seemed very out of place as a CIA agent and
miscast as an action hero—all we have to do is remember him as the Green
Hornet last year.
If Ryan Reynolds’s Matt was bored, imagine me.
Same old, same old.
Thank you for your comments. Editors will review all posts before they are visible on the website.
blog comments powered by