Ryan’s safe as houses

DENZEL Washington and Ryan Reynolds star in this week’s big release, the action-thriller Safe House.

Washington plays Tobin Frost, the CIA’s most notorious traitor, who comes back onto the grid after a decade on the run.

Within the first minutes, we see him cleverly conceal an all-important computer file, mysteriously avoid a sharpshooter’s bullet and escape from a horde of nimble assassins.

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Then he mystifies everyone by turning himself in at the US Embassy in South Africa.

When the safe house he’s remanded to is attacked by mercenaries, rookie operative Matt Weston (Reynolds) escapes with him.

Weston has spent a year sitting in a safe house, bouncing a ball against a wall and listening to tunes. He longs for a big assignment in the field, but the organisation seems content to keep him out of the way while performing menial tasks.

Determined and principled but untested, Weston whisks Frost off, determined to turn him over to CIA brass.

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Frost is an expert manipulator, but Weston, an ambitious Yale grad, does his best to remain in charge.

High-adrenaline chases ensue, as do double- and triple-crossing.

Now, the unlikely allies must stay alive long enough to uncover who wants them dead.

Their story becomes one of mentor and protégé as the trust-no-one atmosphere crescendos.

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Safe House has a fine supporting cast withe likes of Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson and Sam Shepard popping up, but it is star Washington who sets the tone.

Though he is one of those actors who rarely sets a foot wrong no matter what the role, Washington has developed a special knack for dark-side portrayals that bring intensity and flair to films.

Director Daniel Espinosa delivers a well-made and exciting adventure, anchored by the two strong leads; Washington and Reynolds have terrific chemistry as two men linked by their CIA affiliation, and the slick story has moments of breathless excitement.

Safe House is a bracing action thriller made all the more watchable because of its two lead performances.