Safe Blu-ray Review
Hitting Region Free UK Blu-ray complete with a 1080p/AVC High Definition video presentation in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 widescreen, Safe looks very impressive indeed. Detail is excellent throughout, with superior fine object detail, skin textures, and nuanced wider shots – all without the need for any excessive DNR application, and without displaying any overt signs of digital defects. A gritty look is maintained through hefty application of intentional noise, and there’s a stylised look maintained through the oversaturated palette. The colours are vibrant and vivid, with the colour grading pushing many of the tones over into the cool blue realm. Contrast is generally great, but does suffer somewhat during the low-level-lighting and night-time sequences, allowing us moments where shadow detail suffers slightly. Indeed it’s just about the only criticism with a video presentation that is just shy of perfect, and certainly still easily demo quality.
On the aural front we get a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 accompaniment that is just as impressive even in spite of the fact that it is two whole channels shy of the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track that graces the near-simultaneously-released US disc. Dialogue comes across clearly, crisply and coherently throughout, largely dominating the frontal array where appropriate, and never feeling overwhelmed, even during the frequent and energetic action sequences. Effects are myriad, and bring the whole surround array into play, showcasing excellent dynamic use and a soundscape design that has been pitch-perfectly engineered for your aural pleasure. Thundering shotgun blasts, screeching subway trains, and furious shootouts punctuate the track, bringing with them some guttural LFE content that lends them a superior edge. Busy crowded streets and bustling traffic create even more atmospheric, all-encompassing environmental fields, and the routine but nonetheless well-chosen score only further keeps the surrounds highly active at all times. Demo all the way.
Safe hits UK Blu-ray with a surprising assortment of extras: more than you’d expect for this kind of movie.
Writer/Director Boaz Yakin takes us through the production in what is a surprisingly informative and refreshingly honest offering that notes not just the classic actioners he took his cues from, but also at little bit more about the character motivation and plot depth. Far from what you’d expect, fans of the film should be pleasantly surprised by this fresh and engaging accompaniment.
The Making of Safe is a brief 4-minute ‘introduction’ to the making of this movie, with the director talking about what drew him to making an action movie, the star Statham discussing the different style the director brought to the piece – long action takes – and the producer explaining what was so interesting about this feature. The young Chinese actress who co-stars with Statham gets to talk about what it was like working alongside him too. Far too many final film clips pad out this short offering, but there are a couple of behind the scenes glimpses in there.
Cracking Safe provides a more substantial 12 minute accompaniment to the behind the scenes offering, with the director, star and other filmmakers on board to discuss what makes action movies work, and what they brought to this production, with the director covering some of what he already discussed in his commentary, but the presence of the other contributors at least adding in new angles.
Criminal Background takes 8 minutes to look at the locations used in the movie; the notion of setting it in New York; and the way in which they make the city a character itself – a villain no less!
The Art of the Gunfight rounds out these Featurettes with another further fairly substantial 10 minute offering that looks specifically at the fight sequences and the choreography done with Statham – as ever – still putting his all into the fights.
The disc is rounded off by a series of Preview Trailers that play on disc startup, along with the Original Theatrical Trailer for the main feature itself, which is accessible from the main menu.
Safe surprised critics and audiences alike. Sure it may have been buried by the Hulk Smash! of Avengers, and it may pale into insignificance when put up against the brutal Indonesian action-movie-of-the-year, The Raid, but it’s still a remarkably well set-up straight actioner that puts more time and effort than you would expect into establishing a solid premise and crafting reasonably rounded characters to populate the story. Jason Statham proves that he’s still the most reliable post-Millennium action star, and, although he doesn’t break too far from the usual familiar path with this entry, it still makes for a definite step up after his last couple of outings.
On Region B-locked UK Blu-ray we get excellent video and audio presentation as well as a solid set of accompanying extras – perhaps more than you would normally expect for this kind of action outing. Fans of Statham’s flicks – or just action movies in general – should consider arguably worthy of a blind buy, but even if you’re still hesitating it’s definitely worth a rental.
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