"Can’t wait to see the next “Bourne” film? Don’t worry. It opens in theaters Friday. It just happens to be called “Safe House,” a film with so much in common with the “Bourne” films that you’d almost think it was an intentional rip-off. But Hollywood would never do that."
"Let’s see. “Safe House” features a rogue CIA agent with incredible skills. Instead of Matt Damon, he’s played by Denzel Washington."
"CIA honchos looking for the agent include a woman who acts a lot like Joan Allen. She happens to be played in “Safe House” by Vera Farmiga. Looking for a Brian Cox character? He’s played by... Oops, don’t want to give anything away because, as in the “Bourne” films, there’s a whole lot of betrayin’ goin’ on here. There’s just not a lot of originality."
"Oh, did I mention plenty of high-speed car chases and crashes? It’s all here."
"Weston gets more than he bargained for when Washington’s Tobin Frost is taken to the safe house for interrogation. Bad guys soon raid the safe house, forcing Weston to flee with Frost."
"The remainder of the film shows Weston trying to get Frost to another safe house. Easier said than done since Frost just might try to escape."
"And then there are those aforementioned bad guys who keep popping up and killing people. It seems Frost has a microchip they want in the worst way. What could be on this device? Maybe information about who told the bad guys where the safe house was. Who could this traitor be?"
"For a little added complication, Weston has a girlfriend, Ana Moreau (Nora Arnezeder), who doesn’t know that her boyfriend is a CIA agent. When things gets messy with Frost, what will Weston do? Didn’t Bourne have a girlfriend, too? In “Safe House,” the relationship appears tacked on, possibly paving the way for a sequel. A sequel? How shocking."
"Anyway, director Daniel Espinsoa and screenwriter David Guggenheim do prove adept at cinema Xerox. Still, even if the “Bourne” films hadn’t existed, “Safe House” earns points as a decent action-thriller, and any film with Washington in it benefits. The film even tries to give his character some dimension. For example, he appreciate a good bottle of wine."
"One of the film’s better scenes has Frost visiting Carlos Villar (Ruben Blades), a past acquaintance who’s in the forgery business. Their reminiscences come tinged with melancholy. And then the bullets fly again."
"Reynolds holds his own here, though you may wonder how a rookie agent could outduel veteran villains. But it’s best not to think too much watching this film. It exists as a mildly entertaining diversion in the movie season’s dead zone. Like far too many Hollywood films, “Safe House” plays it safe."