Caught my second viewing of Statham's "Safe" last night. Glad it still stuck with me - it delivers, and I've spoken to a lot of non-action fans who were also kind of over-the-moon for it. It's a b-movie that treats it's ideas, relationships and characters with straight-faced respect - none of it is a put-on, or ironic, or anything like that. And it's not gratuitous, but confidently rated R.
Things I love about the film:
-Mark Mothersbaugh's score sounds like David Shire doing the James Bond theme.
-Statham really beats the shit out of a LOT of guys in it.
-There are a lot of double crosses, alliances, and infighting - it's the crooked mayor (Chris Sarandon), the Chinese mafia (James Hong), the corrupt cops (Robert John Burke) and the Russians (big evil fat dude), and they ALL have awesome, interesting, kickass sidekicks. You really get to know these scumbags, they're not just target practice.
-Statham is serious, but he gets to have a LOT of awesome one-liners. My favorite?
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
He's a former sanitation worker. He puts a gun to the bad guy's head, and he's surprised to see him. "The garbage collector?" he laughs.
"You've got it wrong. I didn't collect garbage. I DISPOSED OF IT." BLAM BLAM.
The plot's pretty well-worn, and I still think they cheap out a little at the end, but at that point, I think you have to be very pleased by the amount of asskicking you've gotten so far. This is the old-school style of action film, where our hero is invincible, but you're still invested on if he survives, and how he pulls it all together, given that he's trying to play all sides against each other.
More importantly, though, I got to speak to BOAZ YAKIN.
Very cool dude. Much younger than I expected - we were talking, and he said he wrote The Punisher when he was 22. Still seemed bitter that he wrote the skull-on-his-shirt into the script and they shitcanned it because it was "too comic booky." He acknowledged "Safe" isn't trying to reinvent the wheel, but he thinks Statham is a modern day Bronson, and he wanted to make the type of action film he used to watch in the nineties. Much success, Mr. Yakin.