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April 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Safe is expected to bomb at the box office this weekend. If it does, however, it won’t be because of the performance of its star, Jason Statham, which is being praised even by many critics who hate the movie. “There’s nothing terribly original about Safe, but it’s a suitably grimy playground for action cinema’s reigning pit bull,” comments Robert Abele in the Los Angeles Times. “Lordy, he acts up a storm,” remarks Amy Biancolli in the San Francisco Chronicle.” Andy Webster in the New York Times wishes: “If only someone would offer this actor a project worthy of the full range of his talent.” And Rick Groen in the Toronto Globe and Mail concludes: “It takes a star with quality to be so rock solid in a crumbling yarn.” Actually quite a few critics think the yarn is pretty solid. Rafer Guzmán in Newsday calls it “one of the year’s best surprises, a lightning-fast, down-and-dirty action flick.” Farran Smith Nehme remarks that “taken on its own genre-adhering terms, it’s quite enjoyable.” Claudia Puig in USA Today deals out praise to director Boaz Yakin’s for his “quick cuts, unstinting energy and a lack of sentimentality.” But these are the exceptions; most critics are pummeling the movie the way Statham pummels bad guys in his action flicks. “The movie takes no chances, hitting all its marks for stunt work and CGI eruptions,” writes Peter Howell in the Toronto Star. Joe Neumaier in the New York Daily News comments that the movie is “filled with bombast and sneers but barely any thrills.” And David Germain of the Associated Press tears into filmmakers for turning “Manhattan into little more than a shooting gallery, stacking up corpses in service of a supposed story about one man’s path to redemption. But really, all they care about is stacking up corpses, as many as they can, ripped apart by as many bullets as possible, with a few snapped necks and other more intimate moments of savagery to break up the repetitive tedium of the gunplay.”