What You Need To Know:
SAFE is a gritty movie set in a dark world. However, it has an impressive moral tone, with a brief, but poignant, positive reference to Jesus Christ. Luke is driven to help Mei at the risk to his own life. It also becomes clear he’s driven to expose corruption whenever possible; even when looking the other way would really benefit him. Overall, SAFE is highly entertaining, but extreme caution is advised for the movie’s violence and abundant foul language.
(BB, CC, Ro, Pa, AP, LLL, VVV, N, A, MM) Strong moral worldview set in a dark world, with an overt positive reference to Jesus Christ where homeless man says to a Good Samaritan, “Jesus loves you,” and man seems to have an implied silent prayer answered, but there’s some reckless behavior while trying to save a little girl’s life from evil gangsters and some New York police are corrupt; at least 97 obscenities (including many “f” words) and profanities; very strong, mostly action, violence but with a couple point-blank shootings by evil gangsters in front of 11-year-old girl, martial arts fighting, professional kickboxing, spectacular gunfights, stabbings, hero’s former corrupt police officers beat and kick him, child is almost constantly in peril but hero saves her repeatedly, gangsters murder man’s wife off screen when he won’t do their bidding, and chase scenes with property destruction; no sexual content; upper male nudity; alcohol use; and, kickboxer puts opponent in hospital but apologizes to man’s family, evil gangsters threaten man, gangsters want kickboxer to throw a fight but he refuses, extensive property damage caused by all the violence and chases, betrayals, Chinese gangsters take huge hotel hall hostage and endanger hundreds of people, and police are corrupt.
SAFE is an impressive, rambunctiously gritty action thriller that mixes strong Romantic elements with equally strong moral ones. It also marks a leap forward in quality for British action star Jason Statham. However, there’s plenty of foul language and strong violence.
Statham plays Luke Wright, a former, despondent New York City policeman named Luke Wright. Luke has to fight off Chinese and Russian gangsters as well as corrupt fellow cops to protect and save Mei, an 11-year-old Chinese girl. The Chinese gangsters and their violent ways have corrupted Mei’s spirit. They have taught her that cold-blooded murder is part of doing business. Mei also has an amazing ability to memorize numbers. It turns out she has memorized the codes for a $30 million criminal transaction. So, the Chinese gangsters and their Russian rivals each want to kidnap and control her, or kill her before she can give information to the other side.
Luke races across New York City with Mei, with the gangsters chasing them. While they do this, numerous plot twists unravel amid endless action.
SAFE marks a wildly entertaining ride for adult action movie fans but is absolutely too intense for children and younger teenagers. Writer-director Boaz Yakin exercises surprising and admirable restraint in numerous scenes, leaving some of the violence to viewers’ imaginations. However, on two occasions, Chinese gangsters kill a man and then a woman in cold blood in two point-blank shootings in front of the young girl, who has to learn to trust Statham and lose her jaded attitude over the course of the movie.
SAFE is a gritty movie set in a dark world. However, it has an impressive moral undertone, with a brief, but poignant, overt and positive reference to Jesus Christ. There’s also an implied reference to a silent prayer being answered. Luke is driven to help Mei at direct risk to his own life. It also becomes clear he’s been driven to expose corruption whenever possible, even when looking the other way would benefit him greatly.
Not only does Luke help Mei, but Mei also helps Luke.
After leaving the police force, Luke was forced to earn money in professional kickboxing. In the movie’s beginning, some Russian gangsters want him to throw a fight, but he refuses. The gangsters kill his wife and threaten to kill anyone else he gets close to, including his landlady, unless he commits suicide.
Luke goes to a homeless shelter and gives a man with horrible feet problems his own shoes to wear. The man twice tells Luke, “Jesus loves you.” The next morning, however, the man is dead by morning, his throat having been slit. Luke ends up crying over this sad event. He stumbles into the subway and looks up to Heaven as he contemplates suicide by jumping in front of a train. At that point, the sight of the lost and scared little girl, with some Russian gangsters closing in on her, makes him reconsider. He tells the girl, “You saved me, and now I have to save you.” Thus, her vulnerability and need gives Luke a new purpose for living.
[SPOILERS ALERT] In the end, the young girl has to shoot a villain in order to save them both. Luke gives the Chinese back their $30 million rather than keeping it and enriching his own life like other action heroes might have done. He tells them to leave him and the girl alone forever in exchange for the money. The hero and child drive off together, with the understanding that he will raise her and the two will form a peaceful, happy life together.
The mix in SAFE of superb action scenes with a clear moral purpose provides a one-two combination that mature fans of action movies will enjoy. Be forewarned, however, that SAFE has abundant foul language and intense violence. Overall, SAFE is highly entertaining viewing, but extreme caution is warranted for the violence and foul language.