A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Safe would be a pretty standard Jason Statham action movie if not for the fact that a 12-year-old girl is present for the movie's dozens of brutal beatings, shootings, and killings -- none of which result in any real consequences for the "good guys." Language isn't constant but does include strong words like "f--k" and "s--t," as well as some racial slurs and cultural stereotyping. The main character seems to have a drinking problem during the first half of the movie, but he's easily able to give it up as the action increases.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Luke Wright (Jason Statham) used to work as a special agent for the NYPD, but now he's a lowly cage fighter who angers the Russian mob by not taking a fall. Ruined and desperate, Luke starts to think about suicide when he spots 12-year-old Mei (Catherine Chan) on the run from Russian thugs. A mathematical genius who's being held prisoner by the Chinese mafia to keep their books, Mei has escaped with a special numerical code that's desperately wanted by the Chinese, the Russians, and a band of dirty New York cops. It's up to Luke to protect the girl, play the bad guys against one another, and solve the secret of the code.
Is it any good?
Filmmaker Boaz Yakin's screenplay is taut and clever and might have been turned into a decent movie. He's created a new riff on the old Red Harvest/Yojimbo story of a lone stranger playing two warring families against one another, upping the stakes by adding a third group and the little girl character. But behind the camera, Yakin puts a great deal less thought into his story. He constantly makes the basest and most vulgar choices, starting with the horrible, shaky, nausea-inducing camerawork, which ruins the fight scenes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Safe's violence. Is it harder to take given the presence of 12-year-old Mei? Does it have more impact than superhero-style action violence? Why or why not?
Did you notice any stereotypes in the movie? Why do filmmakers fall back on that kind of storytelling/characterization?
Can Luke be considered a role model in this movie? How does this role compare to Statham's usual image as an action star?
- In theaters: April 27, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: September 4, 2012
- Cast: Catherine Chan, Chris Sarandon, Jason Statham
- Director: Boaz Yakin
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 94 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong violence throughout, and for language
- Last updated: April 23, 2020
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