Most people have had the experience of taking the General Education class at the behest of a friend who assured an easy A, only to get there and find out that this time the teacher has something to prove about general ed. being taken lightly.
Generally speaking, Safe House is that class in an action movie. The story is the basic blow up stuff fodder that has come to be expected; only this one is out to be respected for its brain when its asset is brawn.
Taking place in Cape Town, South Africa, the story is about low-level CIA operative Matt Weston, who is assigned guard-duty for ex-CIA agent Tobin Frost who got ousted for running amuck. Things go awry, however, when the safe house they inhabit is attacked by gunmen inexplicably intent on capturing Frost (Denzel Washington).
Agent and knave escape the safe house, only to be chased incessantly by the bad guys, but as the story unfolds, young Weston (Ryan Reynolds) must rely on instinct to decide whether to trust those in charge or to believe a cunning Frost.
So far, the story is engaging; Washington and Reynolds mesh well, as Washington excels in a familiar villain role, outwitting a young operative, and Reynolds does a fine job as the noble and confused agent trying to do the right thing.
Clarity is lost in the storyline when two home-office CIA agents are introduced as communicators with Weston, who wind up cluttering what’s going on by not having much to do.
Although Reynolds and Washington do a fine job, the script and flow hinder their performances, making the movie stilted and choppy.
In all, the movie was much too complex for what it had to accomplish. It would have been much more enjoyable without a supporting cast edging for face time.