Safe (2012)

safe__spanRoze-Rating: 4 / 5

Luke Wright is an ex cop, living life as a cage fighter making his money from fixing matches so that his “employers” can make money off bets. One day during a rigged fight, he accidentally knocks out his opponent causing his Russian Mafia employers to make an example of his mistake by killing his family. They let him know that he will never live a free life again, being watched during the rest of his life. Luke drifts around New York with no path and considering giving everything up until he see’s a young Chinese girl being harassed by the same men that killed his family. He takes action and attempts to save the girl which saved him.

I’m glad Jason Statham has had a good run of good films, because I was starting to get worried he was picking films for the sake of being in them. 13 and The Mechanic to name a couple. But his judgement is slowly looking up with the successes of The Expendables 2 and this film Safe. It was really refreshing seeing Statham pick a script with a bit more substance. He plays a character with more of a complex, he has a past which he isn’t proud of, and has tried to get away from it by becoming a part of the Russian Mafia’s dishonest path for income. Of course once he makes an honest mistake, the Russian Mafia punish him in the most extreme way, sending him into a suicidal state. Definitely one his most interesting characters, and he pulls it off with ease showing his true acting abilities. I think people praise him too much for his ability to add action to a film with full affect, and forget that he’s a pretty good actor as well

The plot is a bit complicated and maybe seems quite implausible but it doesn’t reach the level of stupidity which makes it instantly bad. It’s an interesting premise and the chaos around it makes it even more entertaining. Obviously it wouldn’t be a Jason Statham without the action, and there’s no need to comment on it because he never fails to deliver in that aspect of films. One of the more surprising films of the year, and a perfect film if your looking for brutal action with a decent story to go along with it

The Expendables 2 (2012)

2012-The-Expendables-2_1920x1200Roze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

The Expendables come back for a second go at a full on action flick. This time they have new members Billy (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie (Yu Nan) who help take on money hungry savage Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme) who has no conscience about the destruction he causes along the way to fortune. His actions prompt Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his men to track him, find him then kill him.

I really wasn’t a fan of the first one, I enjoyed the action but everything else was just pure… fail. The acting was terrible, dialogue cliched and the plot was just stupid. Thankfully Mr. Stallone has recognized a few of the problems and fixed them quite successfully, but of course he forgot a few.

The cast has some how gotten awesomer from the first film with introductions of Liam Hemsworth and Chuck Norris and more screen time from Bruce Willis and “The Terminator” Arnold Schwarzenegger. Action junkies will be pumped just by seeing all these action stars together, and that alone is satisfying, as it was for me. Although not all of them put in their best performances, and well there’s a reason that I’ve had a blind eye towards it. It’s unusual because you can really separate the real actors from the action stars. That being said, a lot of them did improve since Expendables 1, and Jean-Claude Van Damme makes a brutal villain, and he plays it to perfection; one of the only good performances.

The action is relentless as it should be and plays tribute to all of the past action classics. It’s loud, violent and unnecessary which is what makes it a lot of fun. It even improved in that aspect of the film. This is what I think was done a lot better than the first, it had clear intentions, which was to pay tribute to these action stars past films and parody them. This will become apparent when you see Arnold Schwarzenegger tell the crew “I’m back!” and when he replies to Bruce Willis with a “Oh yippee-kai-yay”. This film doesn’t takes itself seriously which is where the first film really faulted. This made me look past the below par acting and stale dialogue, because the film isn’t meant to be “excellent”, its meant to be mindless, gratuitous, blood stained fun. It finds the right balance between fun and seriousness.