Ten years ago The Bourne Identity and its sequels redefined action spy thrillers. The Bourne Identity is beef bourguignon.
Safe House looks like Bourne. Safe House smells like Bourne. Safe House even tastes like Bourne. But Safe House is missing that meaty Bourne texture. Yes ladies and gentlemen Safe House is The Quorn Identity.
Weston (Ryan Reynolds) and Frost (Denzel Washington) are, if I take my beef bourguignon analogy a bit too far, the red wine is the sauce. Yet they don’t have the chemistry of Matt Damon and Franka Potente – they aren’t a fine Burgundy.
Like Bourne Safe House has a heavy weight supporting cast: Brendan Gleeson, Vera Farmiga, Liam Cunningham, Robert Patrick and Sam Shepard. It has the distinctive look Oliver Wood brought to a certain trilogy.
What lets Safe House down is the plot. It just doesn’t have a lot of plot to chew on. The mystery around who the bad guys are, the Weston’s romance and the tenuous threads holding the plot together are all a bit contrived. It tries to replace the meat of plot with its action which is done well but isn’t sadly enough beef to turn this film into beef bourguignon.
If you switch off your brain Safe House is an enjoyable enough action film but it’s not classic French stew.