Mixed or average reviews - based on 36 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 216 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Tobin Frost is the CIA's most dangerous traitor, who stuns the intelligence community when he surfaces in South Africa. When the safe house to which he's remanded is attacked by brutal mercenaries, a rookie is forced to help him escape. As the masterful manipulator toys with his reluctant protege, the young operative finds his morality tested and idealism shaken. Now they must stay alive long enough to uncover who wants them dead. (Universal Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 36
  2. Negative: 2 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Feb 10, 2012
    The action is contained within a coherent dramatic structure and the puzzle-box paranoia of spy-agency protocol.
  2. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Feb 9, 2012
    Though Safe House may be too violent and nihilistic for everyone's taste, it does have several crackerjack action sequences.
  3. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Feb 9, 2012
    Safe House has two powerful performances at its core, a hectic plot, a huge body count and a mild sense of déjà vu amid the pulse-quickening tension.
  4. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Feb 9, 2012
    Crash. Kick. Stab. Punch. Talk (briefly). Smash. Chase. Screech. Shoot. Mumble. That's the wearying pattern of Safe House. Had "think" been an action verb, the movie might have risen above the knee-jerk excitement of the second-tier, "Bourne"-style spy thriller. But it never does.
  5. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Feb 27, 2012
    Moderately enjoyable, in its exhausting way. [5 March 2012, p. 87]
  6. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Feb 9, 2012
    Safe House is a sturdy enough thriller, but one that consistently defaults to the less interesting of its two lead characters.
  7. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Feb 9, 2012
    Safe House is an idea for a movie. It's a few blustery gestures in the direction of a story, with five good actors doing their best, trying to hold up the barest frame of an idea, while investing the surrounding emptiness with all the truth they can muster.

See all 36 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 49 out of 73
  2. Negative: 6 out of 73
  1. Jun 22, 2012
    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 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
  2. Feb 13, 2012
    I love Denzel (I agree with werecar-Denzel can turn dross to gold), and Ryan Reynolds is a good actor. They both play their parts
    well. And the fun part was that I predicted who the bad guy was, and I got it wrong! (See the movie and you'll understand what I mean.) So why do I only give this 8? The problem is that I keep comparing it with the 2nd Bourne movie, and the 1st blond bond (Danny Craig) movie and it does not stack up. OllieWillie is right; the plot is derivative. (Except of course that I could not predict who the bad guy was.) Also, a movie like this needs great fighting. And the fight scenes were only so so. Again, it loses in comparison with Bond & Bourne. Still, my honey and I agree (this time) that it was an enjoyable evening with Denzel and Ryan. And honestly, somewhere, there is a portrait of Denzel where he appears old, decrepit and desiccated. Angels, protect me. Expand
  3. Feb 10, 2012
    What else could be said about Denzel Washington? The man has started in AAA titles for most of his career. We all know he's very selective of the roles he chooses & better yet, the co-stars he surrounds himself with. From big names like Russel Crowe to Ethan Hawke. He's very particular. So when I saw that his co-star in this film was Ryan Reynolds, I thought "Hmmmm?" & let me reassure you people, Reynolds delivers! Ryan Reynolds plays "Matthew Weston" a "house keeper" which is an agent for the CIA in charge of an interrogation house in the numerous locations all around the globe. Weston's location happened to be in Cape Town, South Africa. His average day is pretty uneventful, until one Friday morning agents bring in "Tobin Frost" basically the black version of "Ethan Hunt" played so well by Denzel Washington. Now up to this point all you need to know is that Washington was brought into the "Safe House" which Reynolds is in charge, to be interrogated for something he holds "within himself". PS: I'm trying my hardest no to give out too many spoilers in this review, but its pretty hard not to. Back to my review. All of a sudden about 12 heavily armed men bust into the "Safe House" & the massacre commences. Now Reynolds is pinned to a corner, he knows they want "Frost" alive & that he will die in the gunfire unless he does something.... & fast. From there on out the film shifts into "hyper-drive" & never lets off the gas. I really enjoyed the fast action pace of "Safe House" but most of all I was SUPER impressed by the performance by Ryan Reynolds. Not to take anything away from Denzel Washington but the man is like a fine wine, he only gets better with age. Reynolds on the other hand, has had bad films like "The Amityville Horror" & "The Green Lantern" I thought this guy really couldn't redeem himself after that pile of crap. I stand corrected, tonight proved that a great actor can make an iffy co-actor step his game up to a much higher league. Reynolds not only kept up with Mr. Washington, he challenged him. Not an easy task when you're talking about Denzel Washington. In closing I'd like to recommend this film to everyone who's looking to have a great time at the movies & loves an action packed thriller. Because "Safe House" is the "Safest" bet at the movies, so far this year. Expand
  4. Apr 1, 2012
    It was nothing special. Entertaining, for the most part. Denzel Washington's character was an interesting one, and he also played him well. I kind of saw the 'twist' coming, as I didn't expect Denzel to be the bad guy. Overall, it's an OK movie. Expand
  5. Jun 18, 2013
    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. Expand
  6. Feb 12, 2012
    I can overlook a lot of flaws for a good action flick. But this movie is so flawed all the way through, there is nothing left to like. How some reviewers can think that "documentary style" camerawork enhances filming is beyond me. "Safe House" is shot like a shaky hand-held home movie -- maybe they did use a hand-held camera? How else could they have gotten all the jiggling and swinging up and down, back and forth? It's often hard to tell who's fighting, much less who's winning and how they're doing it. I guess the shakiness and jiggling are meant to keep the audience on edge, but to me it's cheating to try to create effects that should come from the action with just an annoying, uneven camera. It did keep me on edge, but in an irritating way, not an entertaining way. This jiggling is kept up all through the movie -- not just in the chase and fight scenes, but also in offices and phone conversations, the camera just can't stay put. There's not much of a plot, either, but this isn't essential in an entertaining action movie, which this definitely is not. Expand

See all 73 User Reviews