"Safe House" didn't have to be so safe and boring, and it's sad because with such phenomenal actors (both main and supporting) and unique location, it could have been much more.
But, it instead it takes the route of the action movie, with a just a few too many car chases and shootouts and not enough time for the interaction between the two main players to become all that compelling.
The story begins in Cape Town, South Africa, where a young CIA operative named Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) acts as the guardian of a safe house. Weston is predictably bored with such a remote and uneventful assignment, but his superiors don't seem in a hurry to change his situation.
Of course, everything changes when a rogue ex-CIA agent Tobin Frost, wonderfully played by Denzel Washington, seeks refuge in the American Embassy and is soon transferred to the Weston's safe house. Soon, the team which accompanied Frost is killed, and Weston is forced to go on the run with him.
The movie quickly deteriorates from there. I don't know who decided that shaky video was a sign of a semi-realistic action movie, but I hope filmmakers figure out that a technique that makes it harder to see what's going on in busy (you know, action) scenes is a bad idea.
The movie proves once again that you can have too much of a good thing, since the action scenes take too much away from what should be the main focus: the interaction between menacingly intelligent Frost and the naive yet shrewdly determined Weston.
That said, the actors do an amazing job with the bland material they're given, helped by a supporting cast that includes Vera Farmiga and Brendan Gleeson.
If only they were given better material to work with, this could have been a movie akin to Collateral. Instead, it's likely to be as forgettable as Battle: Los Angeles.