Safe House places Reynolds with the big boys

By Mike Shames
[senior entertainment writer]

Grade: b+

Ryan Reynolds hasn’t had the best year. Still reeking from the stench of Green Lantern, but Safe House may help put him back in good standing.
Denzel Washington also stars in this spy flick, and he steals the show.

Safe House is about a rookie CIA agent Matt Weston (played by Reynolds) whose sole duty is to maintain and watch a secure safe house in Cape Town, South Africa.
It’s a rather boring gig, and Reynolds wants to get out in the field.

Ryan Reynolds steps up to the plate in this drama-thriller alongside Denzel Washington. (Photo courtesy of Universal)

The monotony is interrupted by the arrival of notorious rogue agent, Tobin Frost (Washington). Reynolds is quickly out of his depth as the safe house is stormed, all agents are killed and he has to escape with Washington, an expert agent and master manipulator.

He and Reynolds now are playing a twisted game of cat and mouse, all the while trying to figure out who is after them.

Anyone will agree that this film has some flaws, but overall, it’s a good movie.

The main flaw might be the similarities between this and another of Washington’s films, Training Day. While not as intense, Safe House still uses the master vs. student formula.

And Reynolds is no Ethan Hawke.

Where Hawke’s character was wrestling with keeping his job against his morals while trying to remain alive, Reynolds seems more like a dopey kitten trying to catch a mouse to bring back to mommy.

Except, this mouse has outsmarted everyone thus far. Reynolds doesn’t completely sell his role. Fortunately, that just makes Washington’s already stellar performance even better. Washington does seem like the old dog that knows all the dirty tricks but this may be the one time he is also out of his league. The reason for walking back into CIA hands is too important for him to quit.

There are a few times the camera just jumps and moves too much to catch what’s really going on.

With someone like Washington in the cast, the film is bound to be good.

But that’s where the movie stops: just good.

It’s a fun thrill-ride, but drags at points.

It’s still worth seeing for sure, and hopefully Reynolds can continue to regain public approval.

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