Safe Blu-ray Review
- Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
- Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
- Subtitles Color: White
- Region: A (Region-Locked)
- Rating: R
- Run Time: 95 Mins.
- Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray + iTunes Digital Copy + UltraViolet)
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Blu-ray Release Date: September 4, 2012
- List Price: $39.99
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Going into a film starring Jason Statham, one pretty much knows what to expect, and it isn’t some complex drama or tear-jerker. It’s going to be guns blazing, adrenalin fueled action that lets you turn off your brain a while and get your machismo on. Safe, written and directed by Boaz Yakin, who also penned Remember the Titans, gets going pretty quickly, and really never lets up.
The story follows Luke Wright (Statham) a former New York City cop who is down on his luck and making his living throwing fights for some shady underworld characters. When he fails to throw a bout and nearly kills his opponent, the Russian mafia kills his wife. Rather than kill him, however, they leave him alive, but he’s outcast, a pariah. Anyone he gets close to or that gets close to him, they kill. So he ends up a homeless man with nowhere to turn. Meanwhile, the Chinese mafia have kidnapped the young math wizard Mei (Catherine Chan) from China and brought her to New York City’s Chinatown to memorize numbers for them, rather than having to leave a trail on computers. When they have Mei memorize a set of long numbers that she must combine with another set as yet to be seen, the Chinese mafia’s rivals, the Russians, steal her away in a bloody gun battle. In enter the corrupt NYPD who want to play the two sides against each other to get a bigger piece of the pie, which gives Mei the perfect opportunity to slip away from her captors. It is then that Luke spots Mei on the subway being pursued by the very Russian mobsters who killed his wife and left him a desolate outcast. He decides to move into action. Protecting the little girl, Luke ends up embroiled in a dangerous battle between the cops, the Russian and Chinese mafia, and dirty politicians who all want to get their hands on the numbers in Mei’s head that, as it turns out, are a code for a combination to a safe.
Safe isn’t ever going to win any Oscars, but as far as mindless action flicks go, this is probably one of Statham’s best. His interplay with the young Catherine Chan shows a lot of heart. It’s almost reminiscent of Jean Reno and Natalie Portman in Léon – almost, but not quite. This film lacks the absolute sense of style and, well, cohesion, of Luc Besson’s. The story here has so many twists that at first seem pleasantly surprising, but then as they keep piling up, just don’t make much sense. They are basically there for one thing and for one thing only, and that is to keep the action at 10.
Safe’s source, medium speed Kodak Vision3 250D 5207 and fast speed Kodak Vision3 500T 5219, in Super 35 format, looks splendidly rich and detailed in this AVC/MPEG-4 encodement from Lionsgate. There’s a fine layer of grain with deep, oily blacks while the shadow detail is rather strong, only occasionally suffering from some light crush. Texturally, the information in clothing and skin is natural and three-dimensional.
An exciting DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack is on offer here that really gets all those channels working during the numerous shootouts, fisticuffs, car crashes, and chase scenes. Dynamics are spectacular, even if the track is mastered just a bit on the quiet side. Low frequencies, surprisingly for a film like this, were just a little bit weak, but certainly hefty enough.
A commentary and a few behind-the-scenes and “making-of” type featurettes in HD wherein the cast and crew pat themselves on the back for a job well done while offering a few peeks behind the curtain at the production are all that are on offer here.
- Director Commentary
- Cracking Safe (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:11:40)
- Criminal Battleground (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:08:00)
- The Art of the Gunfight (1.78:1; 1080p/24;00:10:16)
- iTunes and UltraViolet Digital Copies
The Definitive Word
Turn off your brain, make room at the edge of your seat, and let this fun, big-hearted popcorn action flick entertain you for 90-minutes. Safe is classic Statham and young newcomer Catherine Chan is the perfect soft counterpoint to his macho, testosterone-driven rampage.
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