"Safe House" isn't a stretch for Denzel Washington or Ryan Reynolds, and the entire enterprise feels both like an attempt at trying to play off the success of the "Bourne" films and make a Tony Scott movie. That said, while "Safe House" doesn't feel original, the two actors do give it a reasonably good try and the picture does manage some reasonable tension, especially going into the back half.
The film stars Ryan Reynolds as Matt Weston, a low-level CIA operative who checks in people to a local safe house in Cape Town, South Africa. Field agents bring in the legendary Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington), a brilliant former agent who went rogue. Not surprisingly, there's a team of bad guys looking for Frost and, predictably, it's Weston who has to go on the run and watch over Frost - as there's no way to get other teams in quickly.
So starts a cat-and-mouse chase, although rather than the usual "buddy movie" set-up, the picture actually has Weston chasing after Frost, who has no interest in being friends and who quite clearly believes in his ability to watch out over himself.
The film's handful of action sequences do manage some tension, especially a chase throughout a crowded soccer stadium. Oliver Wood (cinematographer on the "Bourne" films) gives the picture a moody, gritty look, although the picture's attempts to look like a Tony Scott picture are a bit much.
Neither Washington or Reynolds offer their best performances, but they are fairly good and elevate the material, which feels predictable at times. "Safe House" isn't going to become a new "Bourne" trilogy (the picture seems to hint at sequels), but for those looking for that kind of picture, "Safe House" makes for a decent way to pass an afternoon.
This edition offers a Blu-Ray copy, DVD copy, Digital copy and Ultraviolet copy.
VIDEO: "Safe House" is presented by Universal in 2.40:1 (1080p/AVC) and the results are mostly very good. The gritty, raw picture is transferred well to Blu-Ray, with a picture that looked mostly smooth and quite crisp. A few minor instances of edge enhancement were spotted, but the picture otherwise looked pristine. Colors looked understandably muted, but appeared accurately presented.
SOUND: The film is presented in DTS-HD 5.1. The film's sound design does a very nice job selling both the loud, aggressive action sequences and the small details of the quieter moments. Surrounds kick in during the action sequences with discrete sound effects and nice outdoor ambience - especially during scenes like the one in the soccer stadium. Audio quality was fine, with clear dialogue and well-recorded effects.
EXTRAS: A series of featurettes: "Making Safe House", "Hand-to-Hand Action", "Shooting the Safe House Attack", "Building the Rooftop Chase", "Behind the Action", "Inside the CIA and "Safe Harbor: Cape Town."
Final Thoughts: "Safe House" isn't going to lead to a new "Bourne" trilogy (the picture seems to hint at sequels), but for those looking for that kind of picture, "Safe House" is a way to pass a Summer afternoon. The Blu-Ray offers a few minor extras, but very good audio/video quality.
The Film B-