Safe House

   Director: Daniel Espinosa, Universal Pictures, Rated MA, 115 mins

Relatively new Swedish director Daniel Espinosa (Easy Money) has made a crackerjack of an action thriller about the CIA’s most wanted rogue agent Tobin Frost (Unstoppable star Denzel Washington) seeking refuge in a safe house in South Africa’s capital of Cape Town, after escaping from a group of assassins out to kill him-much to the surprise of CIA rookie agent Matt Weston (Green Lantern’s Ryan Reynolds) manning the facility.
Safe House
   But more is to come with the unexpected attack on the safe house which forces Weston to flee, taking with him the hand-cuffed fugitive Frost at gun-point.
   It is not long before Weston reports in to his superior, David Barlow (The Guard’s Brendan Gleeson) who tells him to take Frost to another safe house where he will be relieved by himself and fellow agent Catherine Linklater (Source Code’s Vera Farmiga).
   In some respects Espinosa’s take on this scintillating spy thriller is similar to some of the Bourne movies through its adrenalin charged car chases, running gun battles and explosive stunts, with most of them being shot on location in various parts of South Africa including its capital.
   Even though Washington is no Jason Bourne he certainly does not disappoint in his intense action role as the ruthless rogue agent-nor does Reynolds as the resolute rookie intent on delivering Frost to another safe house or even the distrustful Gleeson.
In spite of the gory scenes, the major highlights of Safe House are a sound storyline and the clear chemistry between Washington and Reynolds.
   Overall Espinosa has made an entertaining movie filled with many twists and turns, where trust is a priceless commodity and safety in a safe house can never be guaranteed.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 ½ Rubber Stamps

This Means War

   Director: McG, 20th Century Fox, Rated M, 98 mins

In this romantic comedy from McG, the director of the screen version of Charlie’s Angels, we see two CIA agents, FDR Foster (Star Trek’s Chris Pine) and Tuck
This Means War
(Warrior’s Tom Hardy), both of whom are the best of friends, falling for the same beautiful Lauren, delightfully played by Reese Witherspoon (Water for Elephants) amidst the drama of a renegade Russian (Til Schweiger - The Three Musketeers) hell bent on staging a terrorist activity.
   This distraction is seen by both agents as getting in the way of disrupting their plans in wooing the blonde beauty which includes FDR and Tuck going to extraordinary lengths in bugging Lauren’s apartment as well as using CIA resources to prevent either from gaining a romantic advantage over the other.
   McG’s amusing movie is certainly not without its faults but it does work reasonably well due to some of the action and comical scenes performed by Pine, Hardy and Witherspoon in particular those involving comedian Chelsea Handler, who as Lauren’s best friend Trish advises her on how best to choose between the dynamic duo.
   Despite its dramatic title, This Means War is both enjoyable and funny in parts, with the academy award winning Witherspoon being the main drawcard in another of her comical roles.
VIC'S VERDICT:       3 Rubber Stamps

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