This film is very much the first clear film that is trying to mimic or simply ride the coat tales of the Bourne franchise. Tobin Frost(Denzel Washington) is a CIA traitor who has been on the run and hiding out for a decade. He pops up in South Africa, being hunted by some very nasty and highly armed gentlemen. So he allows himself to get captured at an American Embassy. Mean while we follow CIA rookie Matt Weston(Ryan Reynolds) who has a beautiful girl friend and a boring job where he simply man’s the phones at a quiet safe house(Yay the title!). That all changes when Frost is brought in and suddenly Weston finds himself in a storm of hurt.
New director Daniel Espinosa brings a real edgy movie here. The lead actors are strong and the gun fights are brutal in places. That is a real breath of fresh air. Problem is the film also feels like a slight carbon copy of every Bourne film so far. Bad ass spy? Check. Evil CIA? Check. Shaky cam? Double check! Quick cut action scenes? You bet… The main issue is the film doesn’t stop moving, not in a good way. The camera shakes over and over and it does get very distracting. Still the brutal gun fights are done well enough to make this movie stand out from most of the action films we’ve seen recently.
Biggest problem for this movie? It’s beyond predictable, you know who the villain is two minutes in, not because of the writing, because we’ve seen this story done a billion times over. The evil CIA thing is just getting old. Time to do something a little more fresh. What keeps this movie afloat frankly is Washington and a little bit Reynolds. Denzel obviously had fun playing Frost, a bad ass spy can’t be that hard to dive into. A lot more is asked of Reynolds and he really gives it everything he’s got. Problem is I’m not one hundred percent behind that he got it all right. He’s great in the action scenes, but still in many places he just doesn’t seem right in the role. When Reynolds and Washington bounce dialogue off each other it’s fun, and Denzel pushes thing along strong enough to make it work.
As an action film it works fine, we’ve seen this game before though. No real surprises here as things kind of move at a pace we’re used to. Still in the age of PG-13 and boring action films this one gets credit for me by actually putting action in the film. The gun fights are strong, just know that you’re seeing this for Denzel and don’t think you’ll be catching any ground breaking film.