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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 32.14%
Average: 3.57%
Pretty Bad: 25%
Total Crap: 3.57%

1 review, 22 user ratings

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Safe House (1999)
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by Scott Weinberg

"Is this where the line forms to see Patrick Stewart's naked butt?"
2 stars

Lord knows why, but I fished this movie out of a magazine rack next to my couch. Odd. Apparently some random family member has a thing for Patrick Stewart and picked it up at a flea market for 90 cents.

After enjoying Stewart's work for years on Star Trek: The Next Generation (as well as his small appearances in movies like L.A. Story and Lifeforce), I was intrigued enough by his presence on the video cover to give the movie a shot. Upon further examination, I discovered that a certain cutie named Kimberly Williams was also starring in Safe House. Despite my feverish devotion to the DVD format, my boredom overtook me and I popped this VHS into the player.

Suffice to say that this is not the movie to combat boredom.

Stewart plays Mace Sowell. Mace is one of two things:

A. A former "DIA" agent who has been targeted for termination, thereby forcing him to live within a massive house in manic fear of the outside world.


B. A senile old coot with a lot of disposable income.

Mace's house is a paranoiac's sweetest dream: Security cameras, infra-red zone alarms, code keys, Shiny Buttons, Weep-weep alarm thingies, a Spanish maid, a massive internet hookup and a pool boy guy who comes around twice a week to simulate assassinations to keep Mace on his toes.

A few words about "Stuart". He's the pool cleaner. OK, that I can buy. But Stuart also takes to sneaking over the walls of this fortress in a vain attempt to "kill" Mace. The fact that Mace has about 32 cameras and vault-like locks throughout the house does nothing to prevent Stuart from doing his best "Kato" impressions. If that weren't moronic enough, get this: Stuart only speaks in movie character impressions! In one scene he's attempting a truly awful Bogie and throughout the movie he does everything possible to make you pray for his death. Rarely are cinematic characters this infuriatingly stupid.

Speaking of stupid, Mace has a daughter. She frowns upon Mace's constant paranoia, so she takes him to see a shrink played by Hector Elizondo. (When Mace visits the doctor, he chooses to dress up like a Hassidic Rabbi or a telephone repairman to avoid assassination.) Obviously under the impression that four insipid characters aren't nearly enough to sink this movie, the shrink recommends that Mace hire a live-in caregiver. Of course the part of Andi is played by the young and perky Kimberly Williams, who set the movie world on its ear by playing "Bride" in both of those Father of the Bride remakes a few years back.

What Kim lacks in acting skills, she more than makes up for in pretty blue eyes.

75% of this movie takes place within the fortress-like house, with Mace acting all gruff and profane while Andi stands around rolling her eyes at the doddering old fossil. The main question of the movie is this: Is Mace really being hunted by government agents...or is she just going loopy? This question is nearly answered adequately about 14 times throughout the film, but every time we think we know the just turns out to be that idiot pool cleaner wearing his favorite ninja jammies.

For a made-for-cable "thriller", Safe House is surprisingly slow and ponderous. Most B-movies (even the ones worse than this one) at the very least have a solid sense of pacing. But Safe House lumbers on and on rehashing the same scenes numerous times. The actors deliver the same stale dialogue. The screenplay all but commands us to believe that Mace is simply senile...which should give you one huge clue as to the finalé. (He's not!)

If for some reason you've always had a desire to see the posterior butt region of Patrick Stewart, feel free to bump my 2-star rating up to a 3. Stewart's performance in the movie is as strong as his other work; I can only assume that the producers thought a shot of him naked would perhaps boost his shot at an Oscar nomination.

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originally posted: 10/07/01 07:48:34
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User Comments

3/04/17 TechGuyEric One of my favorite Patrick Stewart movies EVER, must watch for thriller fans. 5 stars
3/02/17 danR (2 stars? ridiculous) Those user-ratings ain't lying, this was <i>good</i>. 4 stars
12/29/09 LJ The plot held my attention and the acting was great. 4 stars
9/01/08 Colonel Brendan Tirrell safe house 5 stars
3/14/08 Hook Awesome perfromance by Stewart, excellent - not for people (or critics) with ADD. 5 stars
12/27/05 JD people like me are such whores that there's a hoe' in the noe' 5 stars
8/09/05 J. Hall Incredible movie. Kept me on the edge of my seat. 5 stars
6/30/05 Paul Arthur Thought it was pretty good, well worth a watch 4 stars
5/06/05 Z I'm surprised no one found the beginninng funny lol 5 stars
12/04/04 Bradley Roberts Taken as a whole, a good look at the issues of aging within a spy theme 4 stars
11/08/04 Flappy Special I can;t believe they thought it was a good idea to show Patrick Stewart's wang shadow! 5 stars
11/13/03 A. Fraser Sheer Class 5 stars
5/26/03 ksrasll To answer that question...yes...but a great flick too.. 5 stars
10/23/02 Gene Michaels Pretty dumb; Williams looked good in her towel 2 stars
7/25/02 Kmillse Liked the movie. It kept my attention the entire time. 4 stars
5/23/02 Culver What an incredible movie this is! Patrick Stewart masterfully portrays a rich man who is tr 4 stars
4/18/02 Sunshyne_129 I really loved this movie!!! It was excellent! 5 stars
4/10/02 Lisa The writing is the worst I've ever experienced. Who are these losers. 1 stars
1/31/02 Dave Picard goes nuts: or is he the only sane one? 3 stars
12/19/01 N8 Decent story, Steuart is perfect. 4 stars
10/24/99 Mick Killer flick. A must see for any Patrik Stewart fan. 4 stars
2/16/99 scolbert Pretty decent story w/great acting by Stewart 4 stars
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