But wait, this time there’s something different — the Transporter films have Statham driving recklessly and shooting bullets while trying to save women, while Safe has Statham driving recklessly and shooting bullets while trying to save a little kid.
It’s tough to be so dismissive of an action movie, especially one that is directed by Boaz Yakin (Remember the Titans), but when a film has nothing to offer besides clichéd characters and a scrubby collection of outdated shootouts, car chases and plot twists that we’ve seen a dozen times before in better movies, it’s easy to be a bit annoyed.
Here we have Luke, a former cop-turned-cage fighter-turned bum whose pregnant wife is killed by Russian gangsters after he fails to pay his debts. Luke is living on the streets and is drawn towards suicide, only to have second thoughts when he sees a little Chinese girl being chased down by thugs at a train station.
Turns out, the girl is a mathematical genius who was dragged from China to New York by the Chinese mafia to organise an underground casino circuit. Locked away in her photographic memory is a secret code that the Chinese, the Russians and corrupt NYPD are after, and Luke must drive, shoot, kick, punch, hurl one-liners and blaze through the town to save the girl.
Almost the entire first half of the film is dedicated to long drawn, ham-fisted attempts at characterisation. And that means you have to spend close to half an hour waiting for the action to begin, and when it does arrive, it’s not all very exciting. Jason Statham is his usual wisecracking butt-kicking self. The man is undoubtedly the modern day Jean-Claude Van Damme, but he deserves much better roles.