Safe House

We really wanted to like this one, but overkill is overrated.

With two popular and charismatic stars like Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, how could we go wrong? Let me count the ways: ridiculous vehicular mayhem; over-the-top fisticuffs; double, triple and quadruple betrayals; an unrealistic rooftop chase scene; obligatory water-boarding; clichéd and heavily foreshadowed deaths; muttered dialogue; and lots of blowie uppie stuff, all contributed to a subdued screening audience as we exited the theater. I can always tell if people are excited by a film because of the volume level as we leave. Tonight, no one said a word...

These good people were wasted by the script, the direction and the sound design:
  • Denzel Washington ("The Book of Eli") is Tobin Frost, the most wanted dirty agent in the CIA. He has managed to elude captivity for nine years until he voluntarily takes shelter in an American Embassy in South Africa. He expects to be taken to a safe house.
  • Ryan Reynolds ("The Change-Up") is Matt Weston, a newly hired, low-level agent dealing with boredom as he waits for the CIA to need the safe house he staffs. When everything goes south, we can tell that he is a well-trained operative...and smart!
  • Sam Shepard ("Blackthorn") is Harlan Whitford, a high-ranking CIA official. When he says, "You did a good job. We'll take it from here," all of us reacted. You will, too!
  • Brendan Gleeson ("The Guard") is David Barlow, Weston's boss. He trusts that Weston will manage to pull this catastrophe out of the fire and bring his prisoner to an alternate safe house.
  • Rubén Blades ("Once Upon a Time in Mexico") is Carlos Villar, an old friend of Frost's. Cliché Alert! As soon as we saw he had a family, we knew he would die.
  • Vera Farmiga ("Source Code") is Catherine Linklater trying to manage her agents in the field but frustrated by the "suits."
We heard every bullet and every fist slammed into every body, every neck snapped, every gasp and every moan. But dialogue? Not so much....

Writer David Guggenheim and Director Daniel Espinosa clearly believe if a plot is too flimsy, ramp up the violence. Neither has a very lengthy résumé. Not to be too nasty, but I hope their careers stop right here.
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Here is a link to a preview:
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