Talking Movies: Safe vs Fire with Fire – Statham or Willis?

stormI’m a sucker for the Walmart $5 dvd bin and the Target $5 deals….I LOVE movies and I’m always coming home with flicks that seem intriguing or have good actors or promise science fiction action. (When will I learn that “syfy” action on the other hand, will probably be cheesy and star the inestimable Luke Perry, who will however valiantly Do His Best to elevate the material? Well, probably never – they’re kind of guilty pleasures.) I have a Netflix dvd subscription for this very purpose. The $8.99 monthly fee is supposed to save me from these dives into the Walmart barrel. But then, I have this impulse control issue and an impatience issue….

Being on vacation from the day job for the holidays has left me a lot of time to watch movies. (I’m too good at procrastinating on my writing. Or else opening up the laptop, squinting at the Work In Progress, making a few changes, tweeting for an hour and then considering myself done for the day. Don’t try this at your home, aspiring authors LOL.) Yes, I did watch a marathon of “Say Yes To The Dress” and a mini  marathon of “Hoarders”….lots of NFL football and the Rose Parade. Played with my cats. Entertained the family members. That still leaves empty hours to fill. (What’s that you say? Do housework? PERISH the thought!)

JasonStathamSAFESo I came home from the last Target trip with two movies – “Safe” and “Fire With Fire.” You know how certain actors make you feel like you’re going to be in good hands? Like even though you spent your precious pennies on a movie you never heard of, these people will take care of you for an hour and forty minutes and you’ll be laughing or crying as required while the end credits roll? OK, “Safe” has THE Jason Statham. Enough said right there. “Fire With Fire” has Josh Duhamel (easy to look at and playing a hot fireman no less), Rosario Dawson (one of my favorite female action stars), and – wait for it – BRUCE WILLIS. How did I miss this movie when it must have had its huge premiere???


OK, I admit as an author I’m prejudiced, but even the best actors can’t do much without a good script. And perhaps the scripts as written for these two movies were fabulous. I don’t know. I can only go by what made it to the screen.

One movie has joined my permanent collection and I might watch it again. One movie went off to meet its fate at Goodwill. (I’m creating conflict and tension here for you, Dear Reader.)

Watched “Fire With Fire” first  (Tagline: “Revenge has its own set of rules” – good to know)…felt like Fire with Fire (2012)we came in at the middle somehow and then parts of the plot appeared to have been omitted from the script BUT basically a hunky fireman falls in love with the US Marshal guarding him while he’s waiting to testify in a big murder case. Bruce Willis? He played a John McCainesque cop in two or three minute bursts, pausing before any dialog to shoot us that look of his which says, I know, I know, but I had a mortgage payment to make. (I do love John McCain, especially in “Fifth Element.” Yes, I KNOW the character had a different name.) Bruce got to thoroughly and gratuitously beat up one badass dude though, which must have been a clause in his contract. Rosario the Marshal gets shot, Josh the fireman goes back to LA to resolve the issues with the bad guys himself (but he leaves a fingerprint where it should not be – I’m unclear if this gets resolved.) Injured but undaunted and in love, Ms. US Marshal follows him to LA to deter him. Bruce gives her a worldweary smirk (over the phone) and till 6PM to stop Josh on his one man vigilante trip. Josh lures all the bad guys to one big building and sets it on fire. But wait, Rosario is trapped inside too!!! Josh rescues her….maybe. The last shot is them walking through fire and smoke…are we ever shown their HEA? A wedding with many hunky firemen in attendance? No, we are not. So, did they survive? Bruce indubitably survives and closes the case.

“Safe” (“She has the code. He is the key”. Okay, folks wayyyyy inappropriate given “she” is like 9 and “he” is Jason Statham. Thankfully this tagline is as non sequitor as the plot.) What was I saying? Oh yes, “Safe” suffers from an absolutely over the top plot including Chinese gangsters, Russian Gangsters, NYPD cops Gone Bad, the Mayor of NYC Gone Bad, his gay lover who seems to be an undercover Special Forces guy+criminal mastermind, Mei, a young Chinese girl who can memorize complex strings of numbers at a glance and for this talent gets kidnapped and brought to NYC, after which everyone is after her….oh, Jason Statham? He’s an excop, ex cage fighter, maybe a deeply undercover Special Forces guy (this is never entirely clear to me – a lot of the plot was never clear to me, maybe too much concussion from the endless gun battles)…he cost the Russian Gang a LOT of money and so they kill his pregnant wife (which we do not see, thankfully) and condemn him to a life on the streets where they promptly murder anyone he even smiles at and whatever you do, do NOT let him give you his shoes. Dead by morning. So he’s about to kill himself in a suicide by subway when Mei goes by, trying to escape one gang or the other…and now he’s on a mission to save her.  Many car chases (exciting car chases). I actually LIKED this one a LOT. Jason Statham played the character we’re used to seeing and he had a nice half  bodyguard/half dad relationship with the little girl. I will say I did not see the climactic buildup to a mano a mano fight between Jason and the Mayor’s Maybe Lover being short circuited by the little girl becoming a shooter. And I never got the point about the $30 million that was in play. Would you give that back, minus $50K you gave the Bad Cop, that you plan to repay with interest? Me, not so much.


So “Safe” is now a part of my permanent dvd collection because I got my satisfying HEA-for-now ending, although Jason wisely says they must take it one day at a time as they drive off to Seattle. Good schools apparently. (Dudes, seriously? Sequels are highly unlikely here…give it UP.) “Fire With Fire” gets a C and is in the Goodwill box – you cannot cheat me of that for-sure- HEA, especially not with hunky firemen involved. I am, after all, a romance writer.

I’m back on the day job tomorrow. Today I’m going to have my own little “Big Bang Theory” marathon. See you later!

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