User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 225 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 18 out of 225

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  1. Apr 20, 2014
    6
    Denzel Washington is one of my favorite actors, and anyone who follows him knows that he is pure intensity. For that reason, he is usually best paired with someone who is charismatic, but in this film, he's paired with Ryan Reynolds, another intense actor, leading to a very straightforward and inflexible film. Safe House is your typical C.I.A. inspired action film, that features a wantedDenzel Washington is one of my favorite actors, and anyone who follows him knows that he is pure intensity. For that reason, he is usually best paired with someone who is charismatic, but in this film, he's paired with Ryan Reynolds, another intense actor, leading to a very straightforward and inflexible film. Safe House is your typical C.I.A. inspired action film, that features a wanted traitor turning himself in, in order to escape the men he's doubled crossed. The names and places are different, but the story is the same, lots of fighting and corruption, traitors and double agents, it's nothing new. The intensity in Safe House is just off the charts, as there isn't one second of comic relief. The movie starts intense and just continues that way until the end, which really does an injustice to the always strong performance of Washington. The fact of the matter is that this film could have been an interesting one, had Washington and Reynolds had any chemistry whatsoever, but they were basically the same person, on opposite sides of the table. Chemistry in a film like this is really everything, even in a film like Unstoppable, another straight forward and highly predictable film, it was entertaining because of the chemistry between Washington and Chris Pine. All in all, Safe House is an average film, without much of a supporting cast. It's two hours of chases and gun battles, over the same stuff that all these other films are based on. It's a textbook example of an action movie, with nothing else. It is forgettable and isn't unique in anyway, just the same thing you've seen a million times before. Expand
  2. Nov 23, 2013
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. 22/11/2013

    WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS

    Sky Movies warns you to brace yourself for Bourne-style thrills', and you should, because this is very Bourne-like. However, do not proceed expecting to see a Bourne movie, because this is not a Bourne movie. Personally, I love the Bourne movies, particularly Identity and despite the similar scenes of hand-to-hand combat we see here, Matt Weston (Reynolds) is not a professional assassin. Having said all that-please do watch this, because despite everything said heretoforth, this is almost as good as Bourne Identity.
    There are obvious flaws at the outset which even the most naive and inexperienced of movie fans will notice. Fiirstly, the whole 'not telling the girl you're madly in love with that you work for the CIA' cliche. Even though your CIA job entails house-sitting, literally! Secondly, the '"give me a chance to prove myself" cliche whereby said person almost immediately gets a chance to prove themselves? And thirdly...so he escapes with Tobin Frost (Washington) but, realistically, he isn't going to shoot Frost so why doesn't Frost just walk off.
    OK! Moaning done. Now for the positives. Reynolds is terrific as the lead, a man you really believe in and cheer on. The action sequences while not spectacular are great and there are plenty of them. Shoot outs, fist fights, car chases and rooftop running. Denzel Washington is of course great as Frost, as is Gleeson as Barlow though you do feel they could both have played these parts with their eyes closed and hands tied behind their backs. That isn't a criticism of them, just a reminder that at the end of the day this is just a very good action movie. And does a superb actor like Denzel need to keep making these 'good' films?
    What I really do love though, and is a highlight of the movie, is the chemistry that builds between Weston and Frost as the movie pushes forward. Never is this more noticeable than when Weston saves him in Langa.
    Way before the end looms into sight, you've worked out who the bad guys are and probably what's going to happen but it's still thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying. The end scene between Weston and Frost is again noteworthy and the intelligent handling of the 'incriminating file' storyline (again, Bourne-like) is wonderful and intriguing.
    Please do watch and let me know if you think Weston does the right thing considering the possible consequences. After all, he is no Jason Bourne!

    7/10

    P.S. The end scene in Paris had a real familiarity to it. If anyone can think of which film I'm thinking of, please let me know. Ta.
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  3. Sep 18, 2013
    5
    The movie is okay, but it seemed a little bit overstuffed, like it was trying too hard to be more than it is. But Denzel Washington plays a CIA agent gone rogue pretty damn well.
  4. Jun 18, 2013
    6
    An exciting and well acted film. Denzel Washington gives his regular strong performance and Ryan Reynolds who is hit and miss in this case it is a solid double.
  5. Jun 7, 2013
    6
    CIA agent Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is stuck in a dead-end position looking after a safe-house in Cape Town, South Africa. When Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) is brought into his custody he is given an unexpected chance to prove himself to his superiors.

    Featuring all manner of gunfights and car chases, many of which are very well shot, and thanks to very good central performances
    CIA agent Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is stuck in a dead-end position looking after a safe-house in Cape Town, South Africa. When Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) is brought into his custody he is given an unexpected chance to prove himself to his superiors.

    Featuring all manner of gunfights and car chases, many of which are very well shot, and thanks to very good central performances from Reynolds and Washington everything moves along at a good pace. However after an interesting opening Safe House settles into a rather over familiar plot in which the duo attempt to keep highly sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands. Many of the plot twists, including the ending, are also rather predictable meaning that, while it is more than watchable, this is not really a must see movie.
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  6. May 13, 2013
    8
    A very solid action thriller, Safe House looked a bit Bourne-esque to me, with the plot revolving around CIA, with it being corrupt. its agents betraying each other and some "social stealth action" with main characters evading baddies using crowds. Washington and Reynolds' performance is outstanding, the plot is gripping, and it's a really good movie overall.
  7. May 7, 2013
    7
    Safe house is one of those movies no one can really hate or dearly love, but it's enjoyable none the less. With a good story and interresting characters, this makes one of the better action movies from its year.
  8. Mar 5, 2013
    5
    The film provides the great acting of Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds' poor talent. Although in some ways the film is entertaining, in other respects doesn' t exceed expectations. Safe House is an inconclusive film.
  9. Feb 4, 2013
    8
    Good action movie. Do not expect philosophy, only pure action. Both actors played extraordinary.
    The story is a common one, but the actors make the film quite good.
  10. Dec 24, 2012
    7
    A well made film with some nice stunt work and an awful lot of fight sequences; maybe a couple too many IMO. The performances from both Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds were pretty good, although nobody was particularly stretched. Plot-wise, I guess it was ok but it didn
  11. Dec 13, 2012
    5
    A solid thriller that could have followed the same plot and just as easily been a solid comedy. Midnight Run anyone? The biggest issue I have with Safe House is also the most confusing one. Why is Denzel Washington, one of the most talented actors of his generation, wasting time on this half rate USA Network worthy CIA flick?
  12. Dec 11, 2012
    6
    Can't really go wrong with a Denzel Washington movie, even one as predictable as this one (this one is exceptionally predictable). Ryan Reynolds does another decent job in a non comedic role. The plot could have been flushed out better and the story could have been more original. I think a monkey could have penned the story on this one: corrupt CIA agents double cross each other andCan't really go wrong with a Denzel Washington movie, even one as predictable as this one (this one is exceptionally predictable). Ryan Reynolds does another decent job in a non comedic role. The plot could have been flushed out better and the story could have been more original. I think a monkey could have penned the story on this one: corrupt CIA agents double cross each other and innocent guy is caught in the middle---hope thats not a spoiler--considering i think its the theme of about 70 other movies. The director does do a great job with pacing and making the movie particularly intense. Not one you will fall asleep on. Worth the rental or two hours on HBO. Expand
  13. Dec 3, 2012
    6
    I passed on this to watch a silly movie Rango a week ago. I watched it this week and it turned out to be a decent movie but didnt make me feel bad for passing it up the week before. I geuss what Im trying to say is if you have another option don`t be afraid to go with it.
  14. Nov 29, 2012
    6
    The acting was phenomenal and the fighting and action sequences were really well done. Unfortunately, there's also a plot and it was terribly cliche from beginning to end. This movie felt almost like they took the stories of all the other movies in the genre and took all of the common denominators and made the plot based off of that. I also wasn't a fan of the way the movie was editedThe acting was phenomenal and the fighting and action sequences were really well done. Unfortunately, there's also a plot and it was terribly cliche from beginning to end. This movie felt almost like they took the stories of all the other movies in the genre and took all of the common denominators and made the plot based off of that. I also wasn't a fan of the way the movie was edited together. The massive amount of quick cutting didn't make the movie more intense, it just made it annoying to watch. There was definitely some entertainment value here but the flaws stood out too much to really get entrenched into the story, which was pretty weak anyways. Expand
  15. Nov 4, 2012
    5
    Serviceable espionage action-thriller with a first-rate cast. It brings nothing new to the table, but it is an enjoyable ride. Denzel, as always, is enough of a reason to watch this.
  16. Sep 22, 2012
    6
    Denzel Washington is a charismatic actor capable of delivering powerful performances. In Safe House he brings us yet another solid performance, however not in the class of his Training Day stunner.
  17. Aug 6, 2012
    5
    Safe House is a nicely crafted action/thriller, whose style is reminiscent of the Bourne series, but ultimately the frenetic action sequences and unspectacular plot make it a mere exercise in genre rather than a stand out movie. Washington and Reynolds do fine work here, but they aren't given much chance to actually take it further than any standard star vehicle. And when the film is over,Safe House is a nicely crafted action/thriller, whose style is reminiscent of the Bourne series, but ultimately the frenetic action sequences and unspectacular plot make it a mere exercise in genre rather than a stand out movie. Washington and Reynolds do fine work here, but they aren't given much chance to actually take it further than any standard star vehicle. And when the film is over, there really isn't any emotional resonance, just some feeling of exhaustion because the action scenes themselves seem uninspired and tiring, rather than exhilarating and pulse-pounding. It's not that Safe House is a bad movie. It is far from it. It is merely unspectacular. Expand
  18. Jul 22, 2012
    7
    Saw Safe House over the weekend. It wasn't a ground breaking action movie but it was still really good. I liked seeing Reynolds not as the bad ass guy with all the answers but as the rookie who had no field experience. It was fun watching him become more confident in himself and slowly getting to the same level as Denzel. Real star of the movie was South Africa though. It looked amazing.Saw Safe House over the weekend. It wasn't a ground breaking action movie but it was still really good. I liked seeing Reynolds not as the bad ass guy with all the answers but as the rookie who had no field experience. It was fun watching him become more confident in himself and slowly getting to the same level as Denzel. Real star of the movie was South Africa though. It looked amazing. If they do a sequel I think they've set up a much more interesting plot than they had with this one. Expand
  19. Jul 18, 2012
    7
    It's not the best action movie out there, but it manages to do it's job. Keep you, the viewer, entertained for 2 hours. It's faults: A very boring first half.
  20. Jul 9, 2012
    7
    Director Daniel Espinosa adds nothing new to Safe House that you haven
  21. JAL
    Jul 6, 2012
    2
    What a disappointment! I don't see how Denzel Washington could associate himself with such a low-quality production
  22. Jul 4, 2012
    4
    Not too much to say about this one ...

    Predictable, shallow, regurgitated, nothing new under the sun. Borderline booooring.

    Yeah yeah. Denzel is good, as usual, but even that's not enough to spring life into this "been there, done that" film.

    It's the Jason Bourne series' little brother with down syndrome ...
  23. Jul 2, 2012
    9
    Awesome Acting, Ryan Reynolds does an outstanding job is this movie. Great and realistic fighting scenes. Big Explosions! You get right into the story.
  24. BG3
    Jul 2, 2012
    8
    A great film. The movie will have you jumping out of your seat every 10 minutes. One of Ryan Reynolds best performances (which isn't saying much) but it was still an enjoyable performance by him. Denzel Washington has once again proved that he is one of the best actors of our generation. This movie is definitely a must see.
  25. Jun 22, 2012
    10
    I love the movie safe house, and I seen this one in theaters when it first came out. I think Denzel Washington did an awesome job, as a CIA agent who went rogue, and while on the run, he had met Ryan's Character and he gave him some really great advise. He told Ryan's Character to not be so trusting in those he's working for, because they will stab him in the back and they did. This isI love the movie safe house, and I seen this one in theaters when it first came out. I think Denzel Washington did an awesome job, as a CIA agent who went rogue, and while on the run, he had met Ryan's Character and he gave him some really great advise. He told Ryan's Character to not be so trusting in those he's working for, because they will stab him in the back and they did. This is Denzel's very best performance, ever, yes better than training day. I think when the famous Oscar's are approaching and the nominees are chosen and the movies are selected, this should be on the Oscar's number one list of best movies, and I also think no one should turn their heads away from Ryan Reynolds who also gave his best performance. If this movie isn't consider an nomination for best picture, I will never, ever, ever watch another award show forever. Especially the boring and ever so snoring Oscars. But watching those who you really want to win, will definitely living things up all together. Expand
  26. Jun 20, 2012
    8
    Yes, many of us have seen such flix before but this is somehow refreshing in its gritty authenticity. Lots and lots of fighting with several twists and turns accentuated by key 'splosions, it's a good time for guys - keep the kids and chix away.
  27. Jun 20, 2012
    4
    very poor effort and I kept nodding off as the plot was poor.... also the camera work is truly awful but denzel is good as always ....... ryan reynolds not too bad either ....
  28. Jun 8, 2012
    6
    Denzel Washington is one of the best actor out there. He elevates what can be considered a typical spy caper, action flick into something a bit more. But this film has been done before, and its called 'Training Day'. Once it focuses on its characters, Safe House is pretty good. But there's just too many generic action set pieces in between. Ryan Reynolds again is saved after gosh..howDenzel Washington is one of the best actor out there. He elevates what can be considered a typical spy caper, action flick into something a bit more. But this film has been done before, and its called 'Training Day'. Once it focuses on its characters, Safe House is pretty good. But there's just too many generic action set pieces in between. Ryan Reynolds again is saved after gosh..how many flops he's in. He's a GREAT supporting actor, but not a good leading man. Don't expect this film to rock your world or anything... Expand
  29. Jun 6, 2012
    4
    As a thriller lover i gotta say this movie really disappointed me. Nothing new . Seeing many films with same pattern was this was probably the worst. The story sucked so much. It wasn't like other Denzel Washington films. I loved all his films but this one was him worst . Not his acting though . He did fine , so did Ryan . But the story and everything else just sucked . Direction wasn'tAs a thriller lover i gotta say this movie really disappointed me. Nothing new . Seeing many films with same pattern was this was probably the worst. The story sucked so much. It wasn't like other Denzel Washington films. I loved all his films but this one was him worst . Not his acting though . He did fine , so did Ryan . But the story and everything else just sucked . Direction wasn't that good either . It seemed just like a 2 hours long Bad TV Action Drama.
    Expected more and it had let me down !
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  30. Jun 4, 2012
    8
    I loved this movie. Denzel Washington did a great job acting, but I thought Ryan Reynolds actually out-acted Denzel in this movie. It started out very fast and kept going with the action. The plot wasn't the best but it was interesting and I'd like to see a sequel. I thought that the ending could have had more of a bang, but I was satisfied at least. Good solid movie.
Metascore
52

Mixed or average reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 36
  2. Negative: 2 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Feb 27, 2012
    50
    Moderately enjoyable, in its exhausting way. [5 March 2012, p. 87]
  2. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Feb 20, 2012
    60
    Tolerably exciting spycraft, but stuck with a see-through plot. Washington and Reynolds are watchable, but not exactly stretched by these roles.
  3. Reviewed by: Ian Buckwalter
    Feb 15, 2012
    40
    It was only a matter of time before someone made a Tony Scott movie without Tony Scott.