Guilty pleasure | Safe
Jason Statham makes the same movie two or three times a year. This is one of his best.
Jason Statham is one of the few contemporary actors who can legitimately be called an auteur. Regardless of studio or director, he makes the same movie two or three times a year, playing a hard-bitten professional who mulishly barrels his way through obstacles, the job more important than life or limb, a pattern set in the slick car chase film The Transporter (2002). Safe, which comes out on VOD this week, is one of his best. The star plays Luke Wright, a crooked MMA fighter with a mysterious past who fails to take a fall and ends up on the Russian mob’s kill list. Writer-director Boaz Yakin rhythmically intercuts Luke’s plight with that of Mei (Catherine Chan), a young mathematics whiz kid forced to run numbers for the Chinatown rackets. She evades their grasp and runs into Luke’s after memorizing an encrypted code that the Russians, the Chinese and even the corrupt NYPD are after. Stuck in the middle of a rapidly constricting triangle, Luke and Mei burst out in a typically Statham-esque manner, with him demonstrating his quick-twitch athleticism by shoving forks in necks. Statham’s persona is brutal and efficient—an apt way to describe the entirety of the actor’s chiseled body of work. (Available on VOD, DVD and Blu-ray Tue 4.)