The Stath goes west. Clearly sick of beating up miscellaneous gun-toting Eurotrash, Jason Statham dons his best American accent (which isn’t saying much) and heads across the pond to shoot up NYC in this silly excuse for an action thriller.
Statham plays cop-turned-cage-fighter Luke Wright, whose refusal to throw a bout results in his becoming a target for vowel-mangling Russkie thugs. But instead of killing The Stath (as if they could!) they decide to keep him alive, watching over him 24/7 and bumping off anyone to whom he gets close. Which could mean curtains for little Mei (Catherine Chan), an eight-year-old maths whiz on the run from her Triad minders, with a head full of numbers which may hold the key to a $30 million payout. Taking the tyke under his muscular wing, Stath must keep her safe (see what they did there?) from the Russians, Chinese and his former colleagues of New York City’s finest, all of whom want to get their hands on that cash.
As this all suggests, ‘Safe’ is a film constructed entirely of clichés: the tight-lipped hero with a dark past, the chirpy, mouthy kid sidekick, the legions of interchangeable hoods with funny accents and bad attitudes. But if the plot feels old, the dialogue is positively paleolithic: it’s as if writer-director Boaz Yakin tossed all his favourite Schwarzenegger, Seagal and Van Damme scripts into a shredder and then pasted them back together at random. The occasional efficient action sequence means that ‘Safe’ never gets truly dull, but even Statham aficionados might feel short- changed by this one.