If ‘Journey 2’ is the recommended mindless family flick this week, ‘Safe House’ is the recommended mindless adult flick of the week. Filled with intense, almost non-stop action, it will at least keep you entertained.
Over nine years ago, CIA agent Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) went off the grid. The higher-ups are clueless as to what he’s been doing since then, but he appears to have gone rogue, working with officials from other international spy organizations. The movie opens with Tobin getting his hands on a mysterious computer file, but the second it’s in his possession, assassins come out of the woodwork to take him down. After a wild chase around Cape Town, South Africa, his only chance of survival is to duck into the American consulate, where he’s immediately detained.
Since the next window for extracting Tobin isn’t for another 18 hours, he’s sent to a local safe house that very rarely holds any guests. Running the safe house in solitude is Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds). Over the 12 months that he’s been stationed there, he hasn’t had one ounce of work, but when Tobin is brought in, Matt is about to see more action than every other agent out there. Shortly after Tobin arrives, the safe house is raided by mercenaries and Matt is forced on the run with his prisoner by his side.
As the two try to stay off the grid, their whereabouts keep getting discovered by the mercs, which tips Matt off to a mole in the CIA. The dichotomy that ensues isn’t all that different than ‘3:10 to Yuma‘ – a good guy must bring a bad guy in despite terrible odds. The bad guy doesn’t seem completely bad and they end up having to work together for survival.
The identity of the mole is fairly predictable, but the road getting there is a whole lot of fun. The oddest thing about ‘Safe House’ is its R-rating. There’s literally one use of profanity, no sex or nudity, and the gritty violence takes place off-screen. Without a doubt, the intention of the director and studio was to make a PG-13 action-packed spy thriller. Why it was assigned an R-rating is beyond me.