Ebony and Ivory
So it’s kind of on it’s way out of most cinemas now, but the latest Denzel Washington movie is called ‘Safe House’. Plot as follows:
Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is a CIA rookie who is manning a safe house in Cape Town, South Africa, when Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) the CIA’s most wanted rogue agent is captured and taken to the safe house. During Frost’s interrogation, the safe house is overtaken by mercenaries who want Frost. Weston and Frost escape and must stay out of the gunmen’s sight until they can get to another safe house.
Basically, Denzel Washington plays an ‘antihero/villain’ character who appears to be sociopathic at best and psychopathic at worst. Ryan Reynolds plays the innocent young-blood thrust into a deadly situation à la John McClane in ‘Die Hard’. He has the impossible task of keeping a criminal safe from other criminals in order to transport him safely to a given destination.
Because of this Ryan is the messenger, the delivery man, the carrier, and boy do they treat him like one. What we are meant to care about is the package, and the package is Denzel Washington.
Here’s my first gripe: Look at the poster above.
Look at the size of Denzel’s face compared to Ryan’s. Disproportionate much?
If you don’t think that poster’s unfair, check this one out:
“Hey, want to see Denzel be Denzel…with a little beard?” That’s all this movie is apparently, according to the marketing department. Don’t let them convince you that Denzel is the only thing in the movie. He’s not even the best thing in the movie. Ryan is!
Now I have to make a confession: I like Ryan Reynolds. …”no homo!”
In fact, I really like Ryan Reynolds. The man can act when he’s given a chance. He also has a wicked sense of humour and an inexplicable charm…
Sorry Ryan, but if you’re not going to beat your own drum, then I’ll beat it for you. Err, that did sound a little gay. I’ll blow your trumpet? Hmmm…
Anyway, the point is that I will watch Ryan Reynold in anything. Anything!
The Good The Bad and The Ugly
Ryan is consistently the best thing in each one of these films, and ‘Safe House’ is no exception.
Unfortunately, the rest of ‘Safe House’ is lacking. The writing never rises above basic, the direction is too commercial, and Denzel Washington plays the same character he has in his last 12 films.
Most notably, it suffers from Tony Scott syndrome (also known as Paul Greengrass syndrome)
“Want to make an action scene exciting? Give the camera to an epileptic!”
Here’s the result:
“Cut. Print. That’s a Wrap!”
Look, I undertand that it’s cheap to make a movie with no tripods or dollies, but at least make sure the editor doesn’t have Parkinson’s.
The plot is very easy to predict. Will Denzel and Ryan gain mutual respect for one-another? Will the government double-cross both of them?
I’ll let you figure that out yourself.
In the end: Ryan Reynolds is good, everything else isn’t. Even Denzel Washington (who isn’t completely bad) is recycling his usual ‘tortured hero’ performance.
Did you know that this movie was the last one to ever feature the 1997 Universal logo?
“Not quite good enough”