There are two things you can count on when Denzel Washington is in a movie. The first is that he will be the coolest person on the screen at all times and the other is that it will be a movie worth watching. Both are absolutely true with this movie and on top of that, Ryan Reynolds gives a gritty performance that I honestly didn't think he was capable of.
Reynolds plays Matt Weston, a young CIA agent with big dreams who is stuck with the job of being the care taker of a safe house in Cape Town, South Africa. Very little happens at this particular location, but he needs to be ready at any time to handle any situation that happens to come his way. Enter Denzel as Tobin Frost who is a rogue CIA agent who has just turned himself in at the U.S. consulate building.
After the safe house is ambushed by an unknown group hunting for Frost, Weston manages to get himself and his "house guest" out alive only to find himself involved in a web of conspiracy that leaves him unable to trust anyone and wondering which side he is on.
The action in this movie is pretty intense with some brutal fight scenes, bullets flying everywhere, and a couple great car chases. That being said, the focus of 'Safe House' stays on the two main characters and how they interact with each other which keeps the story on more of a personal level rather than letting things go all crazy with wild stunts and special effects.
Reynolds' character may be the lead role, but Denzel is really the star (as always) as he gives Frost a fiercely calm demeanor that is actually quite intimidating. You really believe that he is in control of every situation and nothing will stop him from achieving his goal. Even when he is handcuffed to a drain pipe with bullets flying all around, this guy will still kick your ass! Brendan Gleeson, Robert Patrick, Vera Farmiga, and Sam Shepard are all great as well in supporting roles.
As I stated before, I was very surprised at how well Ryan Reynolds fit in to this role. I am so used to seeing him in romantic and goofball comedies, it was hard to picture him pulling off a serious role. There were none of the wise cracking Van Wilder style antics to be found in this picture. Weston is a man stuck in a place he didn't want to be with real problems to deal with involving both his job and his relationship...and that was even before everything started blowing up around him.
For comparison's sake, I would say 'Safe House' is along the lines of the Bourne movies without the super training, or the newer Bond movies without the high tech gadgets and spectacular stunts. It is very much in line with the type of movies that Denzel has been starring and excelling in for a while now. Movies that have a harder edge to them and really take you right in to the heart of the action and story.