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Safe House [2012] [R] - 4.8.5



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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A CIA agent (Ryan Reynolds) is tasked with securing a safe house but after his prisoner, a former CIA agent (Denzel Washington), is targeted and attacked, they find themselves on the run. Also with Robert Patrick, Vera Farmiga, Sam Shepard and Brendan Gleeson. Directed by Daniel Espinosa. [1:55]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - A man takes off his shirt (we see his bare back and chest) and gets into a shower; a woman wearing a tank top and brief-style underwear walks into the bathroom, she removes her tank top (her bare back is shown) and gets into the shower with the man where they kiss passionately (sex is implied).
 A man takes off his shirt and his bare chest and back is visible. We see a woman wearing a cleavage-exposing top.
 A man and woman hug. We see a man fall through a building's ceiling (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details) and catch a man and woman in bed (they are covered by a blanket).
 A woman jokes with a man that she has six hours free, so the man should "go back into bed" with her (implying sex); the man declines but tells her he wishes he could. A man asks another man if he was on the phone with a woman or a man, saying, "I don't judge."

VIOLENCE/GORE 8 - During an extended fight scene we see the following: A man slams another man against a wall of cabinets, the two men fight using pots and pans to hit one another, one of the men grabs a knife but drops it, the two men wrestle, throw one another through a glass door, they grab broken glass, one man straddling the other on the ground holds a large piece up to the other man's face, and the man on the bottom stabs him in the leg (blood covers the man's arm and the injured man's leg); the injured man rolls off the other man, they continue to wrestle and they punch each other repeatedly, one man puts the other man in a chokehold, he twists the man's neck and we hear the sound of crushing bone; the man shoves the dead man, covered in blood, off him and we see that he has blood covering his face, there is a huge wound in his stomach that is pouring blood, cuts cover his face and arms and he gasps for air (we see him later waking up in a bed).
 During an extended scene we hear alarms going off in a building, sirens blare and lights flicker as men arm themselves with handguns and rifles; several men are seen on surveillance footage holding large machine guns, an explosion sends a door to the building flying inward, and a man falls backward from the blast as armed men enter the building; one man throws two explosives that detonate, knocking a second man backward and we see a man open fire at the 12 men as they enter the building, multiple people exchange fire, we hear that several men have been shot, we see one man shot through the neck (blood pours from the wound as he hits the ground), and a man drags another man's injured body into a room and a trail of blood is seen on the ground.
 Two men in an SUV crash into two men in a truck, the men get out of their vehicles, two of them open fire on the other two as they run into a building and the gunmen follow, we hear a skirmish and see the men fighting: one man and a gunman wrestle, the gunman drops his gun, takes out a knife and holds it inches from the man's face until the man is able to knock him unconscious by punching him in the face repeatedly (the gunman's face and the man's knuckles are covered in blood, the gunman appears very close to death and the man walks away after threatening to kill him); the other two men wrestle, throwing one another against walls and furniture until one man grabs the gun from the other and shoots him in the crotch twice and then three additional times (we see blood oozing from wound's on the gunman's stomach and we later see a large wound wrapped in gauze on one of the men's torsos and blood seeps through the gauze).
 A man enters a bathroom with a handgun in his hand when a second man approaches him from behind and the two begin a rapid kicking and punching fight; they wrestle until the second man grabs the head and neck of the gunman and twists it, and we hear the crack of bone breaking.
 A man fires a machine gun through a glass door, the bullets hit a woman, her body writhes and she hits the ground, more shots are fired through a window, hitting a man kneeling on the ground next to another man (blood is seen on the man's chest) and a man holding a machine gun enters the house as the injured man drags himself onto the stairs; the two men exchange fire until the original gunman shoots the injured man in the chest four times.
 A man is shot in the chest (blood comes from his nose and ears and he is visibly injured from being in a previous explosion) by another man who is then shot by a third man who is also shot (we see a massive bloody wound on the man's torso as he drops to the ground, while the other man is killed instantly).
 A sniper in a building shoots a man as he walks on a crowded sidewalk; the man falls to the ground, people around him shriek and a small boy approaches the body and puts his hand in the man's pocket (we see blood pooling under the dead man's head).
 We see from a distance a man inside a car shooting a woman standing beside the car in the stomach; she falls to the ground and the man walks over to the woman's body and shoots her twice.
 An injured man with a gunshot wound visible on his chest drags himself down an empty hallway and another man shoots him point-blank (we do not see the shot).
 A man drives a car, the passenger is shot through the windshield and slumps over (we see a bloody bullet hole in the middle of the man's forehead and a spray of blood on the windshield), the driver turns through an intersection, crashes into another car, and gets out of the car and runs into a crowd of people.
 Police officers chase a man holding a handgun: one police officer fires into the air, the man continues running and the police officer fires in his direction, hitting a female bystander (we hear her scream but see no blood); the man fires back as the police officer continues firing, the officer falls to the ground, a second officer comes to his side, the gunman temporarily stops to check on the injured woman and then runs away, unharmed.
 Several men surround a handcuffed man in an interrogation room, one man zip-ties the man's arms and legs to a chair as three other men tip the chair backwards, a man places a wet towel over the bound man's face and then pours water rapidly over the towel and the man's face, torturing him with waterboarding; the three men tip the man forward, remove the towel, he gasps for air and this is repeated three times with each time having the water poured for a longer period (a man watches in horror from behind a glass wall and asks another man, "Is this even legal?" but the man ignores him).
 A man winces as he injects himself with a syringe. A man uses a small razor to cut a pill-sized computer chip out of his torso (we see a small amount of blood on the computer chip, the man's hand and a towel).
 We see an injured, blood-covered man lying in bed, another man in the room leaves when a gunshot is heard, and as the man walks away we see a teen boy slumped against the ground with blood coming from a bullet wound in his chest (he is presumably dead); we see a bale of hay on fire outside and when the man walks toward an SUV, it explodes throwing him through the air (he is later seen with blood coming from his nose and ears and soot covering his face). An injured man crawls out of a room and props himself next to fatally injured man; the two men talk as the severely injured man dies quietly.
 Two men are seen with their guns inches from each other's face, one of them elbows the other, knocking him to the ground, and shoves his gun to the man's neck and then temple; the captive man asks if the gunman is going to kill him, the gunman fires a shot behind the man's head and the man clutches his ear in pain (we see a small cut on the man's cheek from being elbowed and blood coming from his ear (the man is later seen washing blood off his face and ear and for the remainder of the movie we see a small cut on his cheek).
 A handcuffed man stands up and attacks a police officer, elbowing him violently and knocking him to the ground, a second police officer enters and the man kicks him to the ground, a third police officer attempts to grab the man from behind, and the handcuffed man violently sandwiches the police officer against a wall; one police officers on the ground watches as the handcuffed man cuts his cuffs, makes a vague threat and walks away.
 A man warns police officers that another man is dangerous, we see surveillance footage of three people lying on the ground, presumably dead and when the man tells the officers to look at the footage, they shout and run out of the room.
 A man leads a handcuffed man through a crowd, the handcuffed man shouts, two police officers approach and the other man shouts at them as they draw their guns; the man draws his gun and a police officer hits him in the head, knocking him to the ground and handcuffing him.
 During a high-speed chase through a series of busy city streets and highways, we see two SUVs, a truck and a minibus chasing a man driving a car with another man in the trunk: the car speeds down the street and steers one of the SUVs into a construction crane as it takes a sharp turn and the crane slices through the roof of the SUV; people in the street leap out of the way and the SUV rams into the back of the car, the SUV smashes into the side of the car, sending it spinning into traffic, the driver of the SUV shoots at the car, shooting out the back windshield, a minibus smashes into a car, the car drives onto a highway and ramps over a divider, smashes into another car as it is turned and driven the opposite way, and the minibus follows the car, smashing into another car (all of the drivers and passengers of the vehicles, except the first SUV, are seen unharmed later).
 A man drives a car rapidly down a city street, a handcuffed man in the trunk of the car kicks his way into the body of the car, the driver elbows the man in the face but the man begins to choke the driver, using his handcuffs as a choke chain; the man continues to drive, racing into a parking garage and smashing into a parked car (the two men lurch forward with the impact; they are unharmed).
 During an extended chase scene, a man runs and leaps from rooftop to rooftop as other men fire machine guns at him, and another man backs a truck into one of the gunmen when a second man chases the man on the rooftops, falling through the metal ceiling of one of the buildings; the first man continues to jump across rooftops as two gunmen fire at him, the man crashes through the ceiling of one of the buildings, gets up, fights with one of the gunmen, and a man driving a truck shoots the gunman as the other man gets into the truck unharmed.
 A man walks onto a crowded city street and stands in front of an on-coming car while holding a gun, and he shouts at the driver, who immediately leaves the car; the gunman shouts at a handcuffed man to climb into the trunk of the car and they drive away.
 A man cocks a shotgun and opens a door, he draws the shotgun up and points it at another man, an unseen third man holds a gun to the gunman's head causing him to drop the shotgun and we see the gunman continue to hold the man at gunpoint, until the first man asks him to put down the weapon, which he does. A man enters a room where a handcuffed man is tied to a chair, and the man in the chair warns the first man that a group of people will kill him; moments later we see the handcuffed man walking in front of the other man at gunpoint.
 A man shoves his way through a crowd, a second man rushes through the crowd and sits on a bench where the second man fires three gunshots into the ground (no one is injured); the crowd screams and begins fleeing in the opposite direction, pushing and shoving the first man as the second man escapes unharmed.
 A man instructs another man to say that a third man had killed a man before escaping, the second man tells the man that he had killed the man, and the first man interrupts him and instructs him to pin the murder on a different man. A man massages his throat, obviously in pain, and tells another man that he had "crushed" his windpipe. A man tells another man that he had shot an air traffic controller ("put a bullet in his skull"), which in turn caused an airplane to crash, killing a man, a woman and two children. A woman tells several people that a man had been responsible for an explosion. A man asks another man if he makes him nervous and the man responds, "always." Over the phone, a man tells another man that several men had been killed. A woman gives several people a rundown of a man's history, including that his parents and sister had been killed when the man's father caused a drunk driving accident. During a phone conversation, a woman tells a man that he had killed two police officers; the man explains that he had only shot back in self-defense. We hear a television reporter announce that a man had killed two police officers. A man asks another man to clarify that people would kill him in order to gain access to the other man. A man advises another man not to kill innocent people. A man tells another man to think about reasons why a building had been attacked. An older man warns another man that if computer files were to be leaked to the public, it would make the person who had leaked them an "enemy" to multiple countries' intelligence agencies. A man dramatically tells another man that he has "more past than future," adding that he thought he had previously been killed. A man dramatically tells another man over the phone, "I'm dying here." A man tells a woman that a clinic he was working in had a threat called in against it.
 As a man tries to drive an SUV through a crowd of shouting protestors, the numerous men and women beat on the car's hood and windows.
 We see three groups of men coming from different streets about to converge on a man; they have their guns drawn and slink back immediately as they watch the man enter a U.S. Consulate. Several men escort a handcuffed man with a bag over his head into a room. We see a man with a bag over his head escorted away by two men.
 A man kicks a sink. A man slams his hand down on a car's dashboard in anger. A man smashes a glass key case with his fist. A man flips over a table and shoves a chair away from another man handcuffed to a pipe. A man rapidly punches a punching bag.
 A man opens a refrigerator and we see pouches of blood on the shelf. We see a man handcuffed to a pipe but unharmed in a house. We see a photograph of a man's profile as a woman explains that he had been shot in the head (no blood is visible).

PROFANITY 5 - At least 1 F-word, 1 sexual reference, 4 scatological terms, 2 anatomical terms, 6 mild obscenities, name-calling (old man, incompetent, black Dorian Gray), exclamations (shut up). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A man is given a bottle of wine and he and another man toast and drink, a man is seen drinking a glass of liquor, a man drinks a glass of wine, and a woman mentions that a man's parents and sister were killed when his father caused a drunk driving accident.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Espionage, double-crossing, terrorism, international crime and scandals, a "safe house," corruption, deception, torture, waterboarding, cover-ups.

MESSAGE - Things are not always as they seem.

Special Keywords: S4 - V8 - P5 - MPAAR

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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