"Safe House" - A safe bet - The Explorer: Liven Up

"Safe House" - A safe bet

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Chris Flora

Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 4:00 am | Updated: 8:22 am, Wed Feb 15, 2012.

“Two for ‘The Vow’,” said a couple ahead of my girlfriend and me in the ticket line. As if the male victim could feel my sympathetic stare, he turned to me and gave me the “she won this one” shrug. I nodded my condolences, stepped up to the window, and said, “Two for ‘Safe House’.”

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, winning the war of movie choices will prove no easy task for guys who are aching to check out Denzel Washington’s latest action-thriller. I’ll do my best to help the fellows out on this one.

Ladies, the truth is, “Safe House” offers all the aspects of a perfect Valentine’s Day film. Don’t tune out quite yet. Let me attempt an explanation.

Ryan Reynolds plays Matt Weston, a CIA agent who is longing for career advancement after being assigned to guard a safe house used to store and interrogate criminals. In comes Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington), a former CIA agent who is since being hunted down for his betrayal to the government agency.

When the highly-dangerous Frost curiously turns himself in to a U.S. Consulate, he is transported to Weston’s safe house, but his stay is interrupted when a dozen armed men storm the house in an attempt to bring Frost into their own custody.

Weston, a somewhat jittery rookie, finds himself in the crossfire, and is forced to relocate Frost to another safe house, but not without the pestering of the dozen armed men who are close behind.

Like a Valentine’s film, your heart will be pumping by the time the car chase ensues. You may even be squeezing onto your sweetheart’s arm by now.

Narrowly escaping death, Weston realizes his girlfriend, Ana (Nora Arnezeder), may be in danger. In a heartfelt confession, Weston reveals his true job to her, previously kept a secret to protect her. Deep in love, but fearing for her life, Weston tells Ana she must leave him to save herself.

The tears of sorrow, the heartache of letting go in the name of love, that train station goodbye, and the hint of reunion all fit the Feb. 14 mold.

Weston must overcome his amateur status to maintain control of Frost, while fighting off the professional killers still in pursuit. He must use his smarts to locate Frost after he escapes. He must rethink his morals as new information is unveiled about the CIA. He must get through it, the entire avalanche of a situation he has found himself in, if he is ever to see the love of his life again.

Okay, maybe it’s a stretch.

Still, “Safe House” offers more than gun-slinging, adrenaline-pumping action, and satisfying fight scenes.

It offers Denzel Washington, who at almost 60 years old, mimics his Academy Award-winning role in Training Day. It offers Ryan Reynolds, who perfectly plays the part of the boyish rookie who turns into a lethal, informed agent, such as seen in the “Bourne” trilogy. It offers a well-rounded story with balance and believability. It offers unexpected friendships and plenty of split-second surprises.

Sure, there’s no Channing Tatum, but for guys, that’s a good thing. On the day dedicated to sweethearts, no guy wants to watch his girl stare dreamily at Tatum in “The Vow.”

Ladies, don’t be mad at your man if he doesn’t want to see “The Vow.” Be mad at Channing.  Switch it up this Valentine’s Day, and go see “Safe House.”

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