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Safe House (2012)



Average Rating: 5.7/10
Reviews Counted: 177
Fresh: 94 | Rotten: 83

Safe House stars Washington and Reynolds are let down by a thin script and choppily edited action sequences.


Average Rating: 5.7/10
Critic Reviews: 36
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 16

Safe House stars Washington and Reynolds are let down by a thin script and choppily edited action sequences.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 117,027

My Rating

Movie Info

Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds star in the action-thriller Safe House. Washington plays the most dangerous renegade from the CIA, who comes back onto the grid after a decade on the run. When the South African safe house he's remanded to is attacked by mercenaries, a rookie operative (Reynolds) escapes with him. Now, the unlikely allies must stay alive long enough to uncover who wants them dead. -- (C) Official Site


Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure

David Guggenheim

Jun 5, 2012


Universal Pictures - Official Site External Icon

Watch It Now


Latest News on Safe House

January 31, 2013:
Denzel Washington Building Fences
He's set to direct an adaptation of the August Wilson play -- and maybe even looking at a script for...
September 7, 2012:
Weekly Ketchup: Safe House Gets A Sequel
The week after Labor Day was pretty much as slow for movie development news as the the week before...


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All Critics (179) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (94) | Rotten (83) | DVD (4)

The film's super-saturated look and quick cutting are mere substitutes for any real sense of intrigue.

February 26, 2012 Full Review Source: New Yorker | Comments (5)
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While director Espinosa hones in on the ambiguous battle between Weston's idealism and Frost's cynicism, British cinematographer Oliver Wood - who filmed the last two Bourne movies - shoots the hell out of everything.

February 21, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is a naive director with so little insight you wonder what comic books he's been reading.

February 14, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Observer | Comments (9)
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I won't deny that the movie hooked me with sheer brute energy and dragged me along with it most of the way.

February 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Comment (1)
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Nothing really new here, but the cast is first-rate.

February 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Richard | Comments (5)
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Safe House" has just enough bone density to emit some satisfying cracks and pops whenever the action gets going.

February 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Newsday | Comments (2)
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Everybody fights and everybody lies in a thriller that tries to glamorize spies while demonizing their profession.

December 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Christianity Today
Christianity Today

With a small amount of tweaking, Safe House could have been a knockout thriller. Instead, we have a film that shares the same notions as my school report cards: ' ...has potential, just needs to focus'.

September 27, 2012 Full Review Source: The Aristocrat
The Aristocrat

["Safe House"] becomes a prime example of why no matter how many chases and other action sequences they may throw into the mix, they can't even begin to make up for the more important elements.

September 17, 2012 Full Review Source:

Safe House has a cast full of actors who would make any director blush with confidence, but each and every one of them is used as scenery for the action scenes.

September 17, 2012 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

It doesn't say much about Safe House that I can only recall a grand total of about 2 minutes, and those are mostly moments that enjoy good quality character time rather than any flash-bang excitement.

September 13, 2012 Full Review Source:

Denzel and Reynolds keep the bulk of the film fresh, gritty and intense.

September 10, 2012 Full Review Source:

one of those spy thrillers that isn't nearly as thrilling, complex or engaging as the filmmakers think.

July 11, 2012 Full Review Source: Lyles' Movie Files
Lyles' Movie Files

It's a flashy film, but in the end, Safe House is a dull, lifeless, noisy bore.

June 6, 2012 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures | Comments (2)
7M Pictures

Safe House is fairly predictable at times, but it also boasts brutally intense, edge-of-your seat action and great star performances from Reynolds and Washington.

June 5, 2012 Full Review Source: IGN DVD

Ultimately, it dashes into so many close-ups of carnage and neckbreaking, it skids scuzzily close to spy-snuff. Call this Bourne-porn; Safe House needed a safe word.

May 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada) | Comments (2)
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

This is Ryan Reynolds best performance that I've seen since Van Wilder and the wonderful, iconic, legendary Denzel Washington getting screen time and playing the 'badass character' that we love to see him play.

April 27, 2012 Full Review Source: 2UE That Movie Show | Comment (1)
2UE That Movie Show

You'll feel bad in the morning for having spent time with it.

April 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Projection Booth | Comments (5)
Projection Booth

The photography and editing are state-of-the-Bourne-art exciting - breathless chases, brutal, blurry fights and unnerving shootouts.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service | Comments (6)
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

If you're craving a bit of action or just want to clear a few internal blockages in your circulatory system, 'Safe House' will suffice.

March 8, 2012 Full Review Source: The Popcorn Junkie | Comment (1)
The Popcorn Junkie

Wall to wall action and all the betrayals and bullets to play the CIA spy game with an exceptional cast. Just don't let an inventive story get in the way.

March 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals
Cinema Signals

A frenetic action thriller whose chases, gunplay and hand-to-hand combat flash by in such a furious blur that the viewer barely has time to register the plot's shortcomings.

March 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

It moves like a thoroughbred.

March 2, 2012 Full Review Source: The Ooh Tray
The Ooh Tray

If you like an explosive, action-packed game of high-stakes cat-and-mouse that keeps you guessing until the very end, you'll love skipping along to the slam-bang surprises of Safe House.

March 1, 2012 Full Review Source: American Profile
American Profile

It's derivative of many thrillers we've seen in recent years, but the strength of its cast and the technical quality of the action do a lot to make us forget those similarities.

March 1, 2012 Full Review Source: Fan The Fire
Fan The Fire

Audience Reviews for Safe House

Eh. S'okay.
June 24, 2013

Super Reviewer

A decent action/thriller with a few twists. You know you are always going to get a good performance out of Washington. Maybe it could have done with a bit more action, it did seem to slow down quite a bit in parts. Overall though a good entertaining film if not anything new or groundbreaking.
March 31, 2013

Super Reviewer

Bourne is black... I mean back. No wait, this is the wrong review.

All jokes aside, it delivers high octane action enough to please action junkies alike. And with a premise that's somewhat interesting, "Safe House" is (wait for it...) a SAFE BET. LOL, GET IT?

Sorry, now really all jokes aside, you're not going to spot anything new. You're gonna get the shaky cam and the breathless editing; you're gonna get the gritty fisticuff action; you're gonna get the conspiracies and whatnot. So don't come here thinking that this is gonna be something exceeding the likes of the Bourne series. However, it emulates the Bourne series excellently with a surprisingly dynamic relationship between Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) and Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds). So it's an above-average, enjoyable action thriller but a forgettable one.
January 27, 2013
Albert Kim

Super Reviewer

While hardly breaking any new ground, Safe House has enough style and intrigue to keep you watching, in spite of knowing exactly how it will turn out (and hoping somehow that the script will suddenly get inventive and surprise me).

It isn't that the action isn't fun and that the chase scenes aren't interesting - for they are... and much better than the gratuitous chase scenes that fill so many an action film; and it isn't for lack of a star to make you take notice; for Denzel is at his smooth, glib best here, carrying the slick smile and easy manner that hides his no-nonsense, mess with me and I'll kill ya core.

And yet... somehow you just know that you've seen it all before... rogue agent bucks the system he used to work for, blah blah - yep, Born again Bourne (I've always wanted to print that!!!).

There is some suspense, especially dealing with Denzel's escape from the first trap, and then the subsequent attack on the safe house, but thereafter the film seems rote - and the only thing keeping you guessing is who controls the "other" force trying to get at Denzel, and is there a double agent within the CIA, and if so, who?

Funny thing though, during much of the action and set ups, I found myself asking "is this plausible?" and wondering if the motivations, or the how's and why's made sense - which I guess means that I was interested in what was going on, but that the film did not capture me to the point where I was just rolling along with the action. To the film's credit, much of what I was wondering did get explained, so there weren't a lot of "fill in the plot hole by convenience". About the only real stumble takes place around the soccer stadium - where many a weirdly garbed fan is mulling about outside the stadium... while the game is going on inside! WTF??? Wouldn't these rabid fans be in their seats inside once the contest starts?

But that blunder aside, we get to view some nice cinematography - lighting, angles, and saturation are all quality. Script wise, Denzel's lines are poetry and there is a nice bit of chicanery used to fill in some of the missing points - having the CIA chief demand intel on certain persons of interest while in the war room... of course the film then overuses it, which is just plain lazy.

In all, not a bad film, just not a really good one... entertaining to a point, and with the Denzel factor making it worth recommending... just wonder how I'd think of this without his splendid performance.
November 22, 2012
paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

    1. Tobin Frost: I'm already in your head.
    – Submitted by Willie J (2 years ago)
    1. Tobin Frost: Too long a sacrifice. Can make a stone of the heart. O' when may it suffice?
    – Submitted by Simon O (2 years ago)
    1. CIA Analyst: You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.
    – Submitted by Murtala M (2 years ago)
    1. Tobin Frost: I'm your only enemy tonight.
    – Submitted by Diego L (2 years ago)
    1. Matt Weston: I'm taking you in.
    2. Tobin Frost: I don't want you to turn me in. [shoots wall]
    – Submitted by Diego L (2 years ago)
    1. Harlan Whitford: We'll take it from here.
    – Submitted by Josh R (2 years ago)
View all quotes (25)

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