The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Lionsgate - 2012
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 95 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Jason Statham, Catherine Chan, James Hong, Robert John Burke, Chris Sarandon, Reggie Lee
Written & Directed by: Boaz Yakin
Music by: Mark Mothersbaugh
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 4, 2012
Luke Wright (Statham) was living a normal life as a second-rate mixed martial arts cage fighter until screwing up a rigged fight. The Russian Mafia decides to make an example of him to prevent this from happening again and murders his family. With nothing to live for anymore, Wright wanders the streets of New York full of guilt and anger until he encounters Mei (Catherine Chan), a frightened 12-year-old Chinese girl. An orphaned math prodigy, Mei had been forced to work for the Triads as a counter and holds the key to a numerical code that could destroy the Triads, the mob and corrupt cops within the NYPD. After discovering that the same gangsters who killed his family are pursuing her, Wright takes matters into his own hands to protect the innocent girl and seek revenge.
As an action junkie and Jason Statham fan I had to give Safe a try. Yeah, the premise has been done before but I figured it probably couldn’t be that bad. Unfortunately it’s far from Statham’s best effort but on the flip side is far from the worst action flick I have seen. The synopsis above outlines the plot which jumps all over the place and simply has too many narrative strands (especially for an action film) that lead nowhere. The story’s focus suffers as a result. One of the issues is that there are too many bad guys which waters down what should be an integral antagonist/protagonist element. With a story like this you really need someone that you can’t wait to see get their comeuppance. Here, once everything gets sifted through the last bad guy standing (who you discover is responsible for facilitating all that went on) is someone that isn’t introduced until the finale. With no connection to him to that point who cares? There is a little attempted drama where Mei/Luke’s relationship is concerned but that is poorly developed and has little impact. Of course the situations are predictable and the characters are interchangeable but that is to be expected I guess. Luckily Safe does manage to provide plenty of Statham style butt kicking. Yeah it’s pretty much what we have all seen before but fun to watch nonetheless. Writer/director Boaz Yakin probably tries too hard to combine a meaningful storyline with frenetically paced action. What you end up with is an average action film set to a distractingly mediocre script.
The rating is for strong violence throughout, and for language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Safe comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 Mbps.
This is a solid video presentation that boasts plenty of high level detail, bold use of contrast, purposefully reserved use of color, and three dimensional acuity. Blacks are punchy with good dynamic range and discernible gradational highlights. Visual perspective in low lighting and darkened areas is estimable. The combination gives dark scenes appreciable dimension. Images are snappy, clearly drawn, eye catching and perfectly suited for the source material. Any softening is innate and strictly limited to the film’s visual style.
The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack has good dynamic range, detail rich clarity and makes ample use of the entire surround platform to drive the film’s elements. The music, coupled with well integrated discrete and ambient sound effects, plays an intricate role in the surround mix. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room’s acoustic environment is notable although I didn’t consistently discern a better sense of envelopment via the additional rear surround channels. The low frequency effects channel is active as the subwoofer works in tandem with the rest of the system to convey the palpably rich bass and dynamic impact associated with the action based sequences. Dialogue is firmly planted in the center channel and clearly renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction and balance within the front soundstage. I enjoyed this audio presentation but there was little about it that left an impression on me.
- Audio commentary with writer/director Boaz Yakin
- (HD) Cracking Safe – 11 minute featurette
- (HD) Criminal background – 8 minute feaurette
- (HD) The art of the gunfight – 10 minute featurette
- Digital Copy
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
Safe is an ambitious action film that suffers from an overwritten script that is a mile wide but only a few inches tall. Luckily for those of us that enjoy watching Jason Statham thump up bad guys there is plenty of that to go around. The outcome is a mediocre genre entry that most will probably find forgettable. Safe comes To Blu-ray from Lionsgate featuring excellent high definition audio/video and a supplemental package that like the film is just average. When you’re in the mood for a little mindless action it’s worth a rental.
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