Director: Daniel Espinosa
Starring: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson
While many people prefer Washington working his acting chops in serious movies such as The Hurricane, Malcolm X or Training Day, there is a special pleasure in watching him chew the scenery and spit it out in slick action thrillers such as The Bone Collector, Man On Fire and his latest movie, Safe House.
Here he plays a bad guy everyone's been chasing – Tobin Frost, a CIA agent gone rogue – who virtually falls into the lap of an agency novice, Matt Weston, (Reynolds). Stuck in a seemingly dead-end job guarding a CIA safe house in Cape Town that no one visits, Matt finds things finally get a bit more interesting when a shackled Frost is brought in.
A task force is due to take him back to the US, but before they can, a whole host of thugs burst in with guns who want Frost for themselves, and it's up to Matt to escape with Frost and keep him under guard until reinforcements arrive. Which isn't easy when Frost tries to escape at every opportunity.
Featuring a truly heart-stopping car chase through the streets and highways of Cape Town, this is a fun, bloody, well-paced thriller from the Swedish director Espinosa that benefits from the vibrant South African locations and a supporting cast that includes Farmiga, Gleeson (as US-based CIA bods trying to help Matt), Sam Shepard, Robert Patrick and Liam Cunningham. Reynolds is great, too, but the film truly belongs to Washington as the gruff, clever bad guy you'll end up rooting for.