(On Cable TV, December 2012) Since his starring role in The Transporter (2002) Jason Statham has been successful at establishing himself as one of the few reliable action movie stars of the decade, with the unfortunate result that “Statham movies” often feel generic. Safe certainly won’t rank among Statham’s most distinctive efforts: A routine crime thriller set in the streets of New York with Statham mowing down opposing mobs while protecting a girl savant, it’s a satisfying but unmemorable effort that won’t do much to alter everyone’s perceptions of the actor. Statham gruffs his way through the plot, back-story gradually emerging to prove that he’s not the homeless guy we’ve been shown from the get-go. The math-genius girl plot thread is handled with a refreshing lack of sentimentality, but her place in the overall plot is tangential at best. The rest is more of that familiar triads-vs-mafiya-vs-corrupt-cops-vs-protagonist stuff, albeit handled with an absurd body count. Much of the fights and action sequences in the latter half of the film are fairly dull, which is a shame given that the first half contains two dynamic quasi-subjective extended shots in which we’re put in the middle of the action. Also noteworthy is the buildup to a major final fight between two characters, unexpectedly averted at the last moment. Statham is up to his usual standards… which should explain why his reputation will only benefit from this ordinary film. Otherwise, Safe is almost exactly the kind of film conceived to fill up an undemanding evening: it’s almost exactly what it’s intended to be, and competently made most of the time.