There are two types of action movie actors: The Vulnerable and The Immune.


The vulnerable group includes John Wayne, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis. Although they might not want to be described that way... that's the best way. In most of their action films the fight, they bleed, they get skin peeled off, the get dirty, they face near death and sometimes death. They are the ones who tell Mickey the trainer to cut open their swollen shut eyes so they can see enough to continue the fight. They are the one whom, after fallen through the trees and ripping open their flesh - proceed to sew up the gaping wound with a needle and thread by themselves. They are the ones who, walk through broken glass with bare bloody feet just to continue the fight. They are the ones who continue the shoot out even though they are crawling nearly paralyzed because a bullet is pressing against their spine. They are vulnerable.


The immune group includes Sean Connery (as James Bond), the late James Coburn (as Flint) Matt Damon, Jason Statham. They fight - sometimes in tuxedos and suits - and even when shot at, bazookaed at, flame-throwered at, jumped by countless enemy... they somehow come out unscathed. They are immune to everything. They fall just short of being bullet proof, except no matter how many guns are pointed at them, the shooters all miss.

Jason Stathem's latest film "Safe" has him starting out as vulnerable and finishing immune. And boy is it fun. As strange as it sounds, it borrows from Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven" except the build is much quicker. We don't have the patience to wait minutes before Statham starts kicking butt, like we did for Eastwood.


Statham plays Luke Wright a former minor league MMA cage fighter who has just put a guy into a coma. That wasn't the right thing to do because the Russian Mob had bet on Luke to lose. The mob bet lots of money on it and Lukes winning cost them enough that they felt it best to slaughter his wife.


The first thing that comes to mind is that we are going to see some early movie Statham ass-kicking. But we don't. He practically submits to them, though they don't kill him. They warn him they will kill everyone he ever gets close to. So he needs to be a loner.


That is until he notices a young Chinese girl running for her life. Her name is Mei (Catherine Chin) and she has a special talent in that she has a photographic memory and computer-like math skills. Furthermore she's only 12 years old.

She was brought to the country to keep numerical information for the Chinese mob, headed by Han (portrayed by venerable actor James Hong). He doesn't like computers and paper trails.


But when Luke spots her, she is being pursued by the Russian Mob, why do they want her? Well, they know of her ability as well and know that she has a certain long number in her head - and they want that number.


In the middle is a group of corrupt New York cops who also want to get he girl so they can sell her to the highest bidder.


In a very short period of time all three of these groups will face the wrath of Jason Statham's fury. And that's the fun part. Where else could you see a Hyundai Sonata used as a getaway car?


There is no deep thought-provoking plot, this is just good, fun butt-kicking action after a few minutes of vulnerability. Impossible? You bet! Fun? Definitely.


"Safe" is a slam, bang butt-kicking good time that wastes little time on the heroes vulnerability and transforms him into immune. Bone cracking, blood splattering fun!   -- GEOFF BURTON