Denzel in the House!

SAFE HOUSE (2012) Director: Daniel Espinosa  Starring: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Brendan Gleeson, Sam Shepard, Vera Farmiga  Rating: R for violence, language, and espionage type stuff. 

I don’t know much about the Central Intelligence Agency (or CIA) aside from what I’ve learned from years of watching movies. Here’s a few things I’ve picked up:

– CIA headquarters is in Langley, Virginia. I know this because every spy movie has at least one establishing shot of the CIA building with a graphic that reads CIA Headquarters: Langley, Virginia.  Now I would think a top secret outfit would want to keep their location on the down low, but heck what do I know? I wasn’t much for fancy book learnin’.

– The CIA is headed by a veteran character actor (usually with a southern accent) who barks orders to a room full of analysts and other office type people who immediately pick up phones or run out of the room carrying folders.

– The CIA has the coolest cell phones, GPS gizmos, and memory card reader thingees. Yes, “thingee” is an actual CIA term.

– The CIA spends every waking hour trying to recover ultra top secret files that are stolen by bad guys who have no trouble hacking into the supposedly impregnable CIA computer network. Me thinks they should change the computer passwords more often down there at Langley, but heck what do I know? I’m just a simple country doctor.

– Pretty much every CIA agent is a “rogue agent” who is either in league with shady foreign bad guys to steal CIA secrets or conducting his or her own private spy thing under the noses of their bosses. But that’s okay because the CIA bosses are usually in on all of this rogue stuff too.

So when you’re one of the very few upstanding and honest CIA agents like Ryan Reynold’s character in Safe House, the odds are greatly stacked against you that you’ll live to see retirement. Heck, you’ll be lucky to make it to the end of the year holiday party at the Langley Marriott. Which is a shame because I hear their seafood buffet is outstanding.

Matt Weston (Reynolds) is an ambitious rookie CIA agent, but he’s bored to tears working guard duty at a rarely used CIA safe house in Cape Town South Africa. One day as Matt is finishing his millionth soduku puzzle, a team of agents bring in former CIA super spy turned criminal Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) who may have a very important computer file that will royally screw over every intelligence agency in the world.

Before the CIA guys can interrogate Frost, a skilled mercenary team attacks the safe house and kills everyone except Weston and Frost, who escape into the city with killers on their tail and a huge mess left for the CIA housekeeping squad to clean up.

While Weston’s superiors (Sam Shepard, Vera Farmiga) try to figure out what the heck is going on, Weston has his hands full with Frost, a stone cold badass who knows every CIA trick in the book and doesn’t want to be taken down by the guy who couldn’t sell Green Lantern to millions of comic book fans. Can Weston bring the CIA’s most wanted criminal to justice and unravel the vast conspiracy we’ve seen so many times before in these government spy thrillers?

Ryan Reynolds leaves his trademark smarmy wiseass guy at home this time to play an inexperienced man in way over his head. Denzel brings the right amount of Denzelness to his role: it’s not quite Book of Eli Denzelness, but much more Denzelness than that crappy Taking of Pelham 123 remake.

Your scale of Denzelness will differ of course.

To sum up, Safe House is loaded with car chases, gunplay, and that close quarter kung fu fighting that all the action movies have nowadays. But if you’ve seen Matt Damon in any of the Jason Bourne movies, you’ve seen Safe House.

And if you’ve seen Matt Damon in We Bought A Zoo, you’ve seen a level of Hell no one can possibly imagine, and you have my deepest sympathies.

This week DVD Critics Corner celebrates its first anniversary. Thank you very much  for reading, commenting, and subscribing. More reviews coming soon.

 – T. Levier

 

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About Tom Levier

Tom is a New Jersey native who lived in New York City for a while, and is now back in the Garden State. He is creator and writer of Central Park: A Misguide, DVD Critics Corner!, and The Gallows. Please read, comment on, and subscribe to his blogs. It would make him very happy. When not writing, Tom enjoys making jewelry and other handmade items for his shop Cold Garage Creations. Check out his shop on Etsy! https://www.etsy.com/shop/ColdGarageCreations

Posted on August 15, 2012, in Action Movies, DVD, Humor, Movie Reviews, Movies, Netflix, Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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